The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru has said that Arik Airline can be used as stepping stone to establishing Nigeria’s National Carrier if restructured.
He, therefore, called on the 9th National Assembly to reform the aviation sector, which would help local airline grow and attract many other investors that are eying Nigeria’s huge aviation business opportunity.
Kuru made the call in Abuja on Monday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions led by Senator Uba Sani, Chairman of the Committee and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Chief Whip of the Senate and Deputy Chairman of the committee.
He said such reform will enable airlines such as Arik, which AMCON took over in February 2017 remain in business for years to come.
The AMCON chief executive also recalled how respite came the way of Arik Airlines, which was immersed in a heavy financial debt burden that threatened to permanently ground the airline when AMCON took over and restructured the operations of the airline.
He said, prior to AMCON intervention, the airline, which carries about 55per cent of air travellers in the country, went through difficult times that were attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues.
According to him, having retrieved Arik from the brink of collapse and restructured and positioned it on the path of growth and profitability, Kuru said the time is now for the national assembly to ensure that the government leverages Arik Airline as a stepping stone towards setting up a national carrier rather than trying to set up a new airline brand from the scratch, which will cost the federal government a fortune, especially in the face of the nation’s tight budget.