Chief executives of the indebted parastatals yesterday accused Arik Air of allegedly being indebted to them even as they said that the action taken by the unions were not sanctioned by the individual managements and thus advised the airline to resume operation as no one would harass it.
At a joint news conference moderated by the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren, Arik Air was also advised to desist from mud slinging since it was clear it was allegedly owing.
They however said that the parastatals would bring up modalities to ensure that their debts were paid pointing out that although the unions were not aware of all these, they had been asked to to stay further action by calling off their strike action.
The unions apologised to the travellers and stating that the management of the three agencies involved, Nigeria Airspace management Agency and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN along with the NCAA were committed to industry growth.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation has reacted to Arik’s insinuations that it was demanding five percent equity from the airline describing it as not only laughable but diversionary.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, Joseph Obi, stated that the airline was qwing about N84.5billion and accused it was of using diversionary tactics to stall payment.
The statement read, “The attention of the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, has been drawn to a fabrication credited to the management of Arik Airlines, to the effect that the Minister demanded a five percent equity holding in the airline. The story alleged Ministry of Aviation hostility against Arik on account of the so-called equity demand that it claimed to have turned down.
“The first impulse is to totally ignore this groundless falsehood; except that it will send the wrong signals to the general public. Therefore, the sole intent of this release is to put the records straight.The five percent equity story is without any foundation whatsoever. It is absurd, malicious and ultimately laughable. The Minister of Aviation could not have contemplated acquiring a stake in any airline, let alone Arik Air that is groaning from a crippling N85.4 billion debt overhang.