By Kenneth Ehigiator
Chairman, Air Nigeria, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, declared Wednesday that in a fortnight, the airline would have liquidated all its debts owed banks in the country.
This comes as the airline had just cancelled out all debts owed Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, which prompted the bank to withdraw its case against it.
Ibrahim who told newsmen while taking delivery of the first of the airlineâ€™s planes to be re-branded to Air Nigeria from Virgin Nigeria, said Air Nigeria was desirous of starting business on a clean state, following its acquisition from the former owners who accumulated the debts.
He said: â€œ On GTB, I am sure that you know that the issue had been rested, but donâ€™t ask how it was rested, that is the job of the turnaround.
â€œThat has come to an end, all those unwarranted criticisms that GTB is a problem, that will not happen, we are positive-minded people and I must congratulate the staff, who are gradually becoming proud individuals in the industry. By the time we have a dozen aircraft by next month, nobody can tell off the staff of Air Nigeria, they will be the leading staff.
â€œThe GTB case is dead and it has been discontinued. What we did was to pay, we did not restructure it, we fully discharged the debt and we are not indebted to GTB by one kobo.”
â€œI was not the one that took the loan neither was I the one that spent the money, but the important thing is that we want the company to move forward.
â€œOne more bank will have its own loan paid off in a few weeks from now and that will mean that Air Nigeria will be the first airline that is not indebted to any financial institution across the globe.â€
Continuing, Ibrahim said â€œwe are dealing with two banks, weâ€™ve paid one, the other one will get its pay in the next two weeks, we are paying them 100 percent and they will give us a letter of non-indebtedness and their debt will become zero.
â€œIt is not as if you should not take loans, you can take it and then pay back,Â we will still take more loans but we want to know the capacity of paying back what we have taken.â€
He said the airline would take delivery of more re-brandedÂ aircraft within the next two weeks, adding that by 1 October 2010, Air Nigeria would a total of 12 aircraft for its domestic and regional operations.
According to him, the airline will now pay more attention to northern routes, as they had been abandoned by other carriers over the years.
will start coming in from now, we expect the arrival of two aircraft in the livery of Air Nigeria in the next fifteen days, thereafter another four will arrive and then we will have dozen aircraft by the 1st of October, we would have finished with the first phase of the turnaround, we will then move to Human resources.
On international routes, he said: â€œWe will surprise you soon on our re-launching of our international routes, that is London and others.
â€œYou can be sure that not too long, Nigerians in the Diaspora will have course to fly back home in an airline called Air Nigeria on the international routes.â€