By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
An Arik Air Boeing 737-700 is currently being repainted at Ethiopian Airlines’ maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Daily sun has learned that the plane, which has been at the airline’s facilities for more than two weeks, may be repainted with another airline’s mark.
An Arik Air source has revealed that the plane could be one of those leased to a start-up airline, which could begin operations by the first quarter of 2022.
When asked to confirm the brand that will likely use the aircraft, Ethiopian Airline declined to comment but confirmed that as the airline with the largest MRO in Africa, other Nigerian carriers are bringing their planes to maintenance and repair in its facilities.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had taken over the reins of Arik Air in February 2017 and in the first quarter of 2020, one of its planes was painted in the colors of Nigeria Eagle (NG Eagle).
AMCON is in the final stages of acquiring an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which would likely allow it to start scheduled services by the first quarter of the year. next.
In a related development, Arik Air unions have warned the Nigerian Aviation Professionals Association (ANAP) and the National Union of Retirees (NUP) over comments they say are aimed at to terminate the issuance of the AOC to NG Eagle.
At a rally and press conference held Tuesday at Arik’s headquarters in Lagos, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) qualified the ANAP and the NUP of “intruders” trying to disrupt the negotiations on severance pay for Arik’s staff before the arrival of the new entity.
NUATE General Secretary Ocheme Aba has said Arik’s workers don’t need distractions, especially as he’s about to negotiate his severance package.
“By the time NG Eagle takes off, there will be no Arik Air staff who have not been properly terminated, this is our mandate. We made it clear that we didn’t say they shouldn’t receive AOC, but we did say we wouldn’t let them fly until Arik’s staff status regarding NG Eagle was properly established. If their years of service at Arik have been made up, they can go to NG Eagle and find a new job.
He also clarified that since AMCON took over, that it is not beholden to anyone, but that the debt issue is an inherited debt.