Having assumed control of the airline late last week, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says Arik Air (W3, Lagos) requires over NGN10 billion naira (USD31.7 million at the official bank rate) for it to resume full and uninterrupted operations.

The state-owned firm's Head of the Corporate Communications, Jude Nwauzor, said in a statement that the “mess” met on ground was actually greater than anticipated.

“It appears that unlike previously recorded, Arik has debts in excess of NGN300 billion (USD951 million at the official bank rate), especially with some banks, excluding fuel suppliers, lessors and maintenance companies," he said adding that all creditors' claims will be addressed in due course.

AMCON last week blamed Arik Air's persistent financial woes on its "bad corporate governance".

Since moving into position, it says insurance cover for Arik's aircraft, which were to have expired on Sunday, 12 February, has been paid with its aircraft gradually resuming flights. The airline's New York JFK service was suspended this past week.

AMCON states that of Arik's fleet of two A330-200s (one of which is undergoing MRO in Perpignan and the other one parked at Lagos), nine B737-700s, four B737-800s, four CRJ-900s, one CRJ-1000, and four Dash 8-400s, only ten aircraft are commercially serviceable. As such, while the Federal Government plans to return all aircraft stored abroad to Nigeria, Arik Air will temporarily scale-back its operations to ensure what AMCON said was "efficient services and put an end to the era of flight cancellations".

The decision has since been taken to suspend the carrier's flights to London Heathrow and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo in favor of focusing on the West African market.

”The strategic business decision is meant to realign our operations and refocus on satisfying our domestic and West Africa and other international passengers," Nwauzor added. “It will also present Arik with excellent opportunity to engage and discuss with creditors who have become restive since the intervention and have also understandably exhausted their patience due to non-payment of accumulated debt and non-performance on services and contracts.”

Arik is now managed by Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu under the receivership of Oluseye Opasanya, SAN.