Arik Air has been given 30 days to redeem its indebtedness to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) or risk being grounded.
The Minister for Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi gave this charge to NAMA to get the money from Arik Air following disclosure by the acting Managing Director of NAMA, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh that the airline operator is presently indebted to the agency to the tune of over N2 billion.
The Minister who was on a visit to Lagos was shocked that such huge sums can be owed one parastatal and directed that a committee be set up to negotiate immediate terms of payment with Arik Air within 30 days or be stopped from using the Nigerian airspace henceforth.
She stated that as a going concern, Arik Air must be alive to its contractual obligation to the Agency for it to be able to provide a safe airspace for Nigerians.
She, however, implored the agency to make deliberate effort to explain its commitments in terms of acquisition of equipment, overhead cost and staff welfare.
She asked NAMA management not to always look out for hand-outs from government but to look inward to boost its internally generated revenue (IGR).
Meanwhile, Adebanji Ola, PR & Communications Manager, Arik Air, said the airline does not owe the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency over N2 billion (two billion Naira) navigational charges as alleged.
“Arik Air has been complying with the pay-as-you-go regime introduced last year by NAMA for its navigational charges. NAMA management is being economical with the truth .
As a going concern, Arik Air is alive to its contractual obligations to service providers including NAMA. Therefore, the 30 days ultimatum to debtor airlines does not apply to Arik Air.”
The minister further directed that immediate steps be taken for the implementation of a single Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, instead of the prevailing situation where different radars cover different parts of the country.
”We need to have a total national radar coverage as a nation, that is just one radar to cover the entire country and I know it is doable and it has to be done now,” the minister declared.