Air Nigeria to lose 4 aircraft to lessor

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After an initial denial, one of Nigeria’s flag carriers is set to lose four of its aircraftArticle | July 5, 2012 – 10:14am | By Yinka Ojo

Following the suspension of its operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Air Nigeria Airline will succumb to the pressure of its lessor as it is set to return four of its aircraft. 

It had earlier been reported that GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), who leased some of the aircraft to Air Nigeria, was reviewing its financial exposure to the airline and has already concluded plans to recall five of the B 737-300’s it leased to carrier.

Spokesman to Air Nigeria, Samuel Ogbogoro said that the company will return four of its aircraft to the lessor, GECAS, following the request to repossess the Boeing 737-300 planes.

Ogbogoro said the lessor was already in the process of “calling back the aircraft”.

Ogboro, said that Air Nigeria would fully cooperate with GECAS in line with the Cape Town Convention, to expedite the repossession.

“Subsequent to the temporary suspension of Air Nigeria?s regional and domestic flight operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), our lessor has been requesting to repossess some of the aircraft in our fleet and we are fully cooperating to return them.

“Air Nigeria plans to acquire state-of-the-art aircraft to fill the reduction in capacity.

“We are currently finalising plans to resume normal flight operations across the regional and domestic routes as soon as possible,” he said.

He, however, said that scheduled Lagos-London-Lagos flights will not be affected by the suspension directive of the NCAA.

The recalled aircraft were leased to Air Nigeria while it was Virgin Nigeria and the lease payments for each aircraft was put at $181,000 which the airline had negotiated down to $120,000.

Air Nigeria had recently refuted the claim that it is under pressure to return the aircraft due to its financial standing, and blamed its woes on an alleged effort to force its merger with another airline.

The airline is being sued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for tax evasion totalling N5 billion, grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for financial distress and the repossession of its aircraft following alleged failure to honour debt obligations to the company it entered into lease agreement with.

Yinka Ojo

Yinka has taught at various levels of education. He has published a textbook on effective teaching practice and several academic papers in reputable journals. He is currently an education consultant. He loves writing, poetry, music and is presently working on a musical album billed to be released into the market soon. 

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