Friday, 24 May 2013
Senegalese Authorities Impound Arik Airline Plane
SaharaReporters has learnt that aviation authorities in Dakar, Senegal yesterday impounded an aircraft belonging to debt-plagued, Nigerian-based private airline, Arik Airline.
A source in Senegal's Directorate of Civil Aviation disclosed that they decided to seize aircraft belonging to Arik after the airline defaulted on earlier agreements to pay up landing fees that had accumulated for two years.
The Senegalese authorities stopped and impounded the plane moments before it was to take off for 2:00 PM yesterday enroute to Lagos. One of the passengers revealed that the aircraft was impounded along with passengers’ luggage that was already loaded on the plane.
Following the action, Arik left its Nigeria-bound passengers stranded at the airport. Some of the passengers told SaharaReporters that Arik officials had not explained or apologized to them and did not provide them with alternative means of leaving Dakar. The passenger also stated that a seriously ill passenger is among several passengers who have been abandoned to their fate in Senegal with no immediate hope of departure.
Arik Airline, a relatively new start-up airline, has been dogged by controversy since its incorporation. The airline, which began with a questionable source of start-up capital, is notorious for its terrible in-flight service, making it one of the least rated international carriers operating in Nigeria. It is believed that a few former office holders close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo floated the company – using fronts.
The airline also has a history of defaulting on service fees. It recently lost one of its aircraft in South Africa as the airline failed to service its lease loans. The airline owes Nigerian civil aviation authorities some N2 billion in unpaid fees.