Since the takeover of the crisis-ridden airline, Arik Air by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in February this year, the fortune of the carrier has continued to nosedive.
At takeover, the fleet of the airline was 10 from a massive 26 aircraft, but today, the fleet has depleted to just four under AMCON.
Several of the airline’s aircraft are either abandoned at numerous maintenance hangar facilities or are in airports across Nigeria parked at aprons unused.
One of such aircraft is its Superjumbo Airbus 340-500, which Arik had mostly used to ferry passengers between Lagos and Heathrow Airport in London.
An investigation by SaharaReporters indicated that the aircraft has been parked at the apron side of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos since March 2017 when the new management decided to suspend all long-haul operations of the airline.
The aircraft with the registration number CS-TFW, it was learned may have been cannibalized by the new airline management just like some of the aircraft in the fleet of the airline.
Further investigation by SaharaReporters indicated that the aircraft, which is 9.5years old was wet-leased from Hi Fly Airline in the United States in December 2008 with the configuration number C36Y201 with engine 4x RR Trent 500.
The investigation revealed that the aircraft was originally manufactured for Kingfisher Airlines (India) under the registration number VT-VJD by Airbus, but it was under ‘not taken up’ (NTU) by the airline and was given to Airbus Industrie (France) in September 2008 with the registration number F-WJKH.
Further investigation revealed that three months after the acquisition of the aircraft by Airbus Industrie, it was then acquired by Hi Fly with the registration number CS-TFW in December 2008 before being leased to Arik Air by the new owner same month on December 11, 2008.
The aircraft is now under grounded at the Lagos Airport since February 2017.
It would be recalled that the former management of Arik had in May accused AMCON of cannibalizing the airline’s aircraft.
A source close to Arik Air had confided in our correspondent that AMCON recently used the parts of one of the aircraft in the fleet of the troubled carrier to repair the fleet of Aero Contractors another troubled airline under the receivership of AMCON.
According to the source, an engine of a Bombardier Dash 8Q-400 aircraft with the registration number 5N-BKV was taken away from Arik and given to Aero to fix the same aircraft type which broke down recently in Kaduna.
According to a source who was involved in the engine swap, it was a second engine of the aircraft that was removed in a lease agreement in which Aero would be paying Arik $25,000 a month until the engine was returned to the airline.