The Nigerian Eagle Airline has acquired two aircraft from Arik Air, a previously large scale commercial airline in Nigeria, according to Daily Trust report.
The two aircraft are Boeing 737-700 with registration number 5N-MJG and Boeing 737-800 with 5N-MJF; they arrived at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos last week from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it was learnt.
This confirmed speculations about converting Arik Air assets to the newly established airline by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Daily Trust reported that the establishment of the Nigeria Eagle by AMCON earlier drew suspicions that the federal government’s debt recovery agency had planned to acquire some Arik aircraft which was taken over earlier by AMCON over debts
AMCON’s full entry into the aviation sector started in 2017 when the agency took over Arik Air in February over alleged indebtedness by the former owners of the airline.
The entity christened ‘Nigeria Eagle’ was incorporated as NG Eagle Limited RC: 1600277 on July 11, 2019 with share capital of N1 billion with shareholders including AMCON and Omokhide Kamilu Alaba.
It was learnt that with the arrival of the two aircraft, the NG Eagle might soon commence demonstration flights preparatory to commencement of operations.
The arrival of the two Arik aircraft for the new airline has however attracted reactions. Deputy General Manager, Air Transport Senior Staff Services of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Frances Akinjole said the unions could join the legal fight against AMCON.
“Anybody that doesn’t think towards legal battle must be living in fool’s paradise. However, that is not our taking for now. It is not only Arumemi and Ibru, there are humongous debts hanging on the necks of these two airlines. Others will come. Just as I told you, we are also creditors to the airlines as workers are involved,” he said.
Also speaking, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said, “It is not the business of a debt collector/regulator, a body set up by the government for a specific purpose to venture into floating an airline. Note that the Act which established AMCON did not give it such powers which means that the intended purpose of setting up an airline is ultra vires, null, void and of no effect.”
There was no immediate response from AMCON yesterday as the spokesman of AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwazor did not respond to our correspondent’s enquiry.