The management of Arik Air on Thursday said it would challenge the taking over of the airline by the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in court.
Capt. Ado Sanusi, Senior Vice President, Arik Air made, the disclosure at a joint news briefing with the newly appointed receiver Manager, Oluseye Opasanya (SAN) and the airline’s technical consultant, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu.
AMCON had taken over the airline following its huge indebtedness to both local and foreign creditors.
However, Sanusi said the Arik Management had been served with a valid court order empowering AMCON to take over the affairs of the airline.
“As responsible citizens, we have obeyed the court order which appointed the Olaniwun Ajayi (SAN) as the receivership manager. We will comply but I want to make it clear that we have a right to challenge the court order. In the coming days, we will make our position known. It is a court order and we can challenge it and we will challenge it to the highest court of authority, ” Sanusi said.
He added that while the legal battle would be on one front, the parties had agreed that Arik Air would continue to run without any disruption.
Also speaking, Opasanya said AMCON was on a rescue mission to reposition the embattled airline.
Opasanya said: “AMCON has been a creditor to Arik for sometime. It also has security over substantial parts of the assets of Arik. The debt of Arik to AMCON has not been paid and huge sums of money is owed.”
“So AMCON, having consulted widely with government authorities, has decided to appoint me to preside over the affairs of Arik.”
“So we have come to supervise the operation, sustain the operation, improve services and ensure that we support Arik with people of deep knowledge, experience and commitment in the airline industry,” he said.
According to him, Arik plays a pivotal role in the airline industry and many Nigerians are currently drawing their means of livelihood from the company.
“We have addressed the workers and the management and we want to assure other stakeholders and members of the public that the desire of AMCON is to keep the airline flying.”
“AMCON is willing to support the operation of Arik and together with the government, work to meet the immediate essential needs of the company,” he said.
On his part, Ilegbodu said Arik had 28 aircraft in its fleet but only 10 are currently being used for operations.
He said his duty as technical consultant was to get to the root of the problems bedeviling the airline to ensure its sustainability.