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AMCON Exposed for cannibalising aircraft

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The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been accused of cannibalising Arik Air aircraft and using the parts to repair the fleet of Aero Contractors.

Sources from the airline disclosed that an engine of a Bombardier Dash 8, Q400, was taken away from Arik aircraft with registration, 5N-BKV, and given to Aero to fix in the same aircraft type, which broke down recently in Kaduna.

Aero said it intends to revive the aircraft and put it in the air again with the leased engine.

This was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, who said Aero and Arik signed an engine lease agreement with the notification of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He said Aero would be paying Arik $25,000 a month until the engine was returned.

But according to inside source, the arrangement might not be tidy because both airlines do not maintain the same safety standard, “and if Arik Air’s management that was recently disposed were there, it would not have allowed its aircraft to be balkanised. So this is in bad test and AMCON does not have the technical experience in aviation to be taking such decisions.”

The source also alleged that besides the engine, other parts were removed from the same aircraft to repair that of Aero, adding that AMCON by taking such safety critical decision has forgotten that it took over the airline’s management does not mean that the airline belongs to the corporation to take such action that could jeorpardise its safety standard.

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“The agreement term that Aero agrees to pay $25,000 a month for the engine is exploitative and against the interest of Arik because in other parts of the world, when this lease arrangement is done, the airline pays for the engine per hour and should also pay for maintenance reserve for the engine, which were not done in the so-called lease between Arik and Aero,” an insider Arik source said.

The source also noted that the aircraft from which the part was cannibalised might have been destroyed because it was not only that part that was taken from the aircraft.

“You cannibalise Arik aircraft and give the parts to Aero. It is not only that engine that was taken away but other parts were also also taken away. Since AMCON took over Aero five years ago, its debts has increased and its fleet depleted. They talked about corporate governance but under that corporate governance Aero has not improved; rather its existence is being threatened. So how are we sure it has continued to maintain its well-known safety standard when most of its technical workers have been sacked?

“When AMCON took over Arik, the airline had 15 serviceable aircraft but AMCON claimed they were 10. Now, from that 10, Arik has four aircraft. The new management owes all fuel markers N450 million. So AMCON has started cannibalising Arik Air aircraft, who knows the next thing it wants to do. Their flights have decreased and there are still delays. From all these, it has become obvious that AMCON cannot manage the airline,” the insider source said.

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Sanusi however, explained that, “We have engine problem in Kaduna and we requested for engine lease from any part of the world. We wanted a short term lease for an engine and we would have got one from South Africa for $23,000 to $26, 000 monthly but because we wanted to let the money be in Nigeria we took that of Arik and we have done engine lease agreement. This is a normal industry practice.”

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