Aviation stakeholders, especially airline passengers in Nigeria have commended the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON, over its intervention in Arik Airline, which has boosted its On-Time-Performance OTP.

AMCON had taken over the management of the Arik Airline in February, following its huge debt profile to the corporation and other creditors both home and abroad, a development that saved the collapse of yet another airline thereby saving thousands of jobs in the country.

Some passengers who spoke at the Arik Terminal, located at the local wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, said it was refreshing to see that all the delays and flight cancellations, which Arik was known for before AMCON came into the picture have all been addressed to the extent that Arik is now number one when it comes to keeping to flight time schedules.

One of the passengers said, “Whatever magic that AMCON did at the place is commendable. Initially when AMCON intervened, some of us were sceptical but truth must be told, AMCON has done really well with their involvement in Arik because things have really improved at Arik.

“Aside from that, they have also done excellently well with their involvement in Aero Contractors and one can only commend the management of AMCON for all these achievements. It means that there is hope for the aviation industry in Nigeria. I think other operators should understudy whatever model AMCON used to revive the two very important airlines because without them these two critical airlines would have become history like many others before them”, he also said.

Arik Air, which remains the biggest carrier in the country, experienced huge challenges arising from some business irregularities that led to near collapse before the Federal Government ordered AMCON to intervene to avoid major catastrophe in the aviation sector after series of operational encumbrances bordering on flights delays, cancellations, bad corporate governance, accumulating staff salaries among other ills.

Available records show that currently,  Arik Air flights depart on schedule without delay. For instance flights scheduled for say 10:00 am calls for boarding at 9:27 or 9.28 and completed boarding at about 9:50. The flights will then take off at about 10:05 am, which is quite remarkable judging by what was obtainable with the airline before AMCON’s takeover.

It would also be recalled that Aero Contractors Airlines, which like Arik is also under the receivership of AMCON has made history by conducting the first C-check on a Boeing B373.

Aero had under the leadership of its new Chief Executive Officer, Captain Ado Sanusi, was certified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, which issued Approved Maintenance Organisation AMO certificate to Aero, qualifying it to carry out aircraft maintenance up to C-check level on Boeing Classics: B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500.

In the light of this, Aero recently extended its maintenance hangar so that it could effectively take in a Boeing 737 aircraft and it is partnering A J Walters of United Kingdom for tooling and spares, the South Africa Airways Technical and other international maintenance organisations to ensure that its aircraft maintenance facility is in line with global standards.

For years the airline has been conducting maintenance on helicopters and Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft up to D and C check respectively.

Moving forward, the airline also hopes to secure European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and the United States Federal Aviation Administration FAA Certification before the middle of next year, which implies that other airlines in Nigeria would save a lot of money by making use of Aero facilities for their C-checks instead of doing so abroad, thereby conserving foreign exchange for Nigeria.