The National Union of Air Transport Employees has
exposed what it called a cunning move by AMCON.
It has even threatened a strike if the Assets Management Company of Nigeria fails to clarify the fate of Arik Air’s employees.
In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Ocheme Aba and titled, ‘We shall welcome NG Eagle with our solidarity song,’ the union said it suspected foul play following AMCON’s decision to float a new carrier while still in receivership of Arik Air.
The statement on Friday read in part, “Presently, AMCON is in receivership of two airlines – Arik Air and Aero Contractors – being a 60 per cent shareholder in the latter. One should then ask why AMCON would be floating another airline. We smell a rat.
“We decipher that AMCON’s unstated objective is to open a window of business opportunity as a way to recoup its heavy financial losses through the heavy debts in Arik and Aero. But, surely NUATE can’t be the only ones wondering what sort of business ingenuity there could be in running three airlines simultaneously.”
It added, “We have it on good authority that AMCON’s real intention is to sidestep the debt overhang, particularly in Arik Air, while continuing to make money from the airline business without any real capital injection.
“This it intends to achieve by moving all valuable assets of Arik Air, including human asset, into the new NG Eagle. The question is, what becomes of the carcass of Arik Air and its personnel after such evil wind?”
The aviation union in the statement added that AMCON had already moved some personnel of Arik Air to NG Eagle while being loudly silent on the service records of such personnel in Arik Air.
It also raised questions on what would happen to the previous years of service or the security of such service in their new assignments.
It urged appropriate government agencies including the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to intervene in the matter and resolve all issues raised amicably.
However, it warned that if AMCON failed to address all concerns, then it would sing a solidarity song in favour of Arik Air’s employees.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, had said that the Asset Management of Nigeria owned airline NG Eagle was an entirely different entity from Arik Air without any connection between both airlines.
Ilegbodu explained that the fact that a couple of planes with Arik aircraft livery were painted to the NG Eagle colours was because the assets were mortgaged for a loan and now the owners had taken possession of their assets.
According to him, the owners simply recovered their assets.