The domestic flight operations of Arik Air were on Thursday paralysed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over what the orgainsation described as high indebtedness by the airline to the tune of N1.2 billion.
Many passengers were left stranded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja as the airline’s scheduled flight operations to other parts of the country were grounded.
While speaking on the phone from Lagos, FAAN’s Managing Director, Mr. Saleh Dunima, said efforts were being made in Abuja with the Association of Air Transport Association of Nigeria (ATTSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employers (NUATE), to resolve the crisis.
He said: “Right now, Arik is discussing with the management of Abuja airport, as soon as they sort that out, they will resume flight operations.”
He refused to make further disclosure on the profile of the indebtedness, explaining that the amount being owed is not supposed to be in public domain.
Speaking on anonymity, an authority hinted that Arik Air had also failed to remit the passengers service charge of N1,000, the amount due to FAAN which also runs into millions.
The source disclosed that what Arik owes FAAN from landing and parking fees is N1.2 billion, which is separate from the PSC.
He said Arik could only be allowed to commence flight operations if they can pay a substantial percentage of the amount before the close of work yesterday.
It was gathered, that for stranded passengers due to travel to Ibadan, Ilorin and Gombe from the NAIA, Arik’s management in conjunction with FAAN were able to arrange alternative flight using Overland airlines for the stranded passengers.
Also speaking, FAAN’s spokesperson in Abuja, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said it was the unions that did not allow Arik staff to process flight papers for passengers, adding, that they are owing
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