From left, Treasurer, National Union of Air Transport (NUATE), Comrade Sofiya Amga, General Secretary, (NUATE), Comrade Abba Ocheme and Branch Secretary Arik/Local State Council, Okoloji David at a press briefing held at NUATE Secretariat, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos
The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, has called on the Presidency to intervene in the crisis in the aviation industry regarding the issuance of Air Operator’s Certificate to the soon to be floated airline Nigeria Eagle by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.
The union says, the intervention by the Presidency would help to avert a major mishap in the aviation sector and avoid a chaotic end to Arik air under receivership by AMCON on the verge of being liquidated to birth Nigeria Eagle, NG Eagle.
At a news briefing by one the unions, the National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE, the General Secretary, Comrade Ocheme Aba said, those saying the NG Eagle should not be given its Air Operators Certificate, AOC, were not being fair to the soon to be born airline.
He said, the bottom line regarding opposition to the NG Eagle AOC issuance were fears in some quarters that the new airline may metamorphose to a national carrier.
“The underline issue to the crisis is that, there are two sides, the minister side is afraid that if NG Eagle succeeds it could metamorphose into a national carrier and if that happens then the efforts that is ongoing at the side of the minister to form a national carrier could be jettisoned”.
Comrade Aba emphasized that, denial of AOC to NG Eagle would shut out twenty thousand potential jobs for Nigerians, together with the opportunity for the reasonable number of Arik Staff to migrate to the new Airline.
He said, the fears by two aviation unions that Arik Air was transforming itself to NG Eagle and would thereby escape its heavy indebtedness to FAAN and other aviation Agencies was true but unfortunately the debts may become bad debts as the airline in question do not have even the financial wherewithall to pay off the N19billion debts.
“This debts that Arik has piled up where debts that existed before 2016, no single debts have been added to that pile from the time AMCON came in till now. There is no possibility under the sun for FAAN to get that money because that money is not coming so, the worse you can do is to liquidate Arik and refuse to give AOC to NG Eagle and that will not bring the money for FAAN”.
On the workers entitlements, the NUATE scribe said, talks were on with AMCON on the matter, assuring that the unions would ensure all workers of the soon to be liquidated Arik Air get all entitlements due them.
Out of the five Unions in the aviation sector, two so far have thrown their weight behind the new airline as its best serve their interest of job creation for the teeming unemployed aircraft pilots and engineers as well as other staff who work currently with Arik Air soon to seize to exist.
“We are clamoring for the NG Eagle’s birth because our interest is best protected by AMCON”.