Arik halts operations to sort out insurance issues

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*Arumemi-Ikhide

In what sounds like ‘Another Nigger Dead’ the title of a 1972 poem by Uganda’s Taban Lo Liyon, another Nigerian airline, Arik Air has suspended operations temporarily “pending approval of aircraft documentation related to insurance renewal.”

This comes barely two weeks after Aero and First Nation Airways (FNA) had suspended services for technical and solvency related matters.

The group chief executive officer of Arik Air, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide said in a signed statement that the airline was working round the clock to resolve the necessary documentation which, according to him “has been a challenge due to the long weekend holidays due to Ed al Adha.”

Currently, he said all flights for today (Tuesday) have been cancelled adding that the airline would be getting in touch with passengers to provide an update on rescheduling of their flights.

“This situation is likely to continue for the next few days until such time that NAICOM (National Insurance Commission) approves a waiver on a priority basis for the new insurance company to renew the policy,” he said.

He advised passengers to contact the airline’s call centre, airport or city ticket offices or visit its website for further updates.

“Passengers are also advised to check with the airline regarding the status of their flights before proceeding to the airport,” he added.

“Arik Air wishes to advise and assure the public, its customers, stakeholders and partners that we are fully committed to returning to our normal operations and minimize any unfortunate inconvenience to our passengers.

“Where flights have been cancelled, the airline will notify passengers through short message service (SMS) and in such cases, passengers will be accommodated on first available alternative flight as soon as normal flight operations resume,” said Arumemi-Ikhide.

He apologized to passengers and appealed for their understanding while the carrier ‘works diligently to resume normal operations at the earliest.”

Meanwhile, News Gazette learnt that insurance for the aircraft expired all at once for the fleet acquired separately from different manufacturers.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig Cars) frowns at any airline that operates any aircraft that has insurance issues. Part 18.11.2 of the regulations dealing with aviation insurance says “No person shall operate any aircraft in public air transport category without adequate and valid insurance cover.”

It further states in Part 18.11.2.2: “Any person having a duty to maintain adequate insurance shall submit to the Authority on quarterly basis, insurance certificates, evidence of paying premium and policy documents.”

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