By ChineduÂ Eze
The House of Representatives has commended the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over the handling of Arik Air since it took over the running of the airline a year ago.
The House however, charged the new management to stabilise the airline within the next one year, saying that this would further bring confidence of the flying public not just to the airline, but to the aviation industry as a whole.
However, when AMCON took over the airline it was given one year by the federal government to manage it and that one year elapsed this February.
Speaking during the tour of the facilities of the airline at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Hon. Jones Onyereri, Chairman of Committee on Banking and Currency said that AMCON had been able to bring out the airline from the woods.
He said that despite the crisis of the airline, Arik Air remained one of the safest airlines in the industry and had been able to maintain a good safety records, which he said was important for the confidence of all air travelers.
Onyereri said the airline had enough spares in its stores and duly maintains its aircraft and that the House was highly impressed by the airlineâ€™s effort to maintain stability since it was taken over by AMCON.
He declared that the committee would ensure the airline retained its safety level and return to the era of profit making.
Onyereri, however said that the National Assembly was worried about the debt profile of the airline and in order to address this, it had met with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), AMCON and the new management of the airline.
He explained that through this, the status of the airline would be known and the committee would recommend the way forward for the carrier.
â€œWe have said it earlier on that we are worried about its debt profile, we are eager to get out of that quagmire. We are here to encourage them and if you look at the amendment in the AMCON Act, we have dealt with the issue. First, it is under a receiver manager and secondly, for the receiver manager to bring out a well-thought out plan on how to rehabilitate Arik at leastÂ within three months.
â€œThatâ€™s the plan andÂ within one year, they can get them out of the woods. If they canâ€™t get out of the woods within the one year, you need to stabilise them in a way that you are sure that going forward, Arik would be profitable.Â
Thatâ€™s why we are here; thatâ€™s our primary responsibility. We need to see operations of agencies within our purview.â€
He emphasised that the new management had operated with open transparency and eschewed corruption and embezzlement in running of the airline.
Besides, after leaving Arik, the committee moved to Aero Contractors Airlines, another carrier that is under the receivership of AMCON.
Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aero Contractors, moved the team round the facilities of the airline and lauded them for their consistency over the years.