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Arik Air grounded by NAMA over NGN1.9bn debt

3-Sep-2010 1:07 PM

Nigeria's National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) grounded Arik Air over a debt amounting to NGN1.9 billion (USD12.6 million) on domestic routes and approximately USD126,000 on international routes (AllAfrica, 02-Sep-2010). NAMA's head of Public Affairs, Supo Atobatele, said the agency gave the carrier until 01-Sep-2010 to pay its debt or be grounded. Arik Air reportedly lost at least NGN180 million (USD1.2 million) and was forced to cancel 120 domestic flights on the day. Ten carriers so far have complied with the demands as at 02-Sep-2010 and have continued operation. Arik Air refused to comply with the new "pay-as-you-go" system, claiming that the introduction of the payment regime was a unilateral decision by the agency. Arik was said to be making arrangements to pay NHN50 million (USD330,579) to NAMA on 01-Sep-2010 to enable it to operate from 02-Sep-2010. The carriers owe NAMA more than NGN4 billion (USD26.4 million) over several years.