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Arik Air accuses Presidency of poaching pilots

By News Express on 04/09/2015

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Arik Air Chairman, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, has accused the Presidency of poaching four pilots from the airline workkforce.

A ThisDay report yesterday quoted the aviation chief as alleging that the pilots, whom Arik spent millions to train, now in the presidential fleet. He, however, did not give names of the said pilots.

The story, entitled ‘Arik Chairman Calls for Forensic Audit of Aviation Ministry’, also quoted Arumemi-Ikhide as saying on Wednesday that the malaise plaguing the aviation sector would not allow the sector to develop. He therefore urged the federal government to carry out forensic audit on the industry in order to cure the ills plaguing it.

Arumemi-Ikhide called on President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out a forensic audit of the ministry to look into the alleged dubious and corrupt practices perpetuated at different stages in the sector by putting numerous hurdles before Nigerian airlines that indicated interest to operate international destinations, while at the same time frequencies were given to foreign carriers to operate freely into Nigerian airports.

He spoke at a breakfast meeting of the Aviation Round Table (ART) in Lagos where he also debunked insinuations that Nigeria airlines do not have the financial muscles to carry out transatlantic operations into Asia, Europe and America.

The Arik Air chairman, who was making a rare appearance at an industry forum, alleged that officials of the Ministry of Aviation should be held liable for the rot that has characterized the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between Nigeria and other countries.

According to him, past ministers in the ministry were ill-advised by officials who rather prefer to gain from the lopsided arrangement they entered into rather than protect Nigeria carriers, remarking that at various times the airlines had been denied entry into countries it applied to fly into while they grant entry permissions into Nigeria to airlines from countries that refused same to Nigeria airlines.

He also said the recent publication in national newspapers of the name of debtor airlines by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was a disservice to local airlines and called for its reversal.

Arumemi-Ikhide added that the airline was not afraid of government setting up a national carrier and also denied allegations that Arik Air owed Nigerian banks any debt. He also revealed that Arik Air has secured $1 billion loan to upgrade its operation and had also concluded arrangement to acquire 26 new aircraft between now and May 2017.

•Photo shows Arik Chairman Arumemi-Ikhide.

 

Source News Express

Posted 04/09/2015 03:37:48 AM

 

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