Rumour Mill: Nigerian Eagle Airlines Sold And Arik Air To Lose Aircraft
A reliable source reports that cash-strapped carrier Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways) has been acquired by Nigerian businessman Jimoh Ibrahim for $5 million in cash plus the assumption of $250 million in debt. Mr. Ibrahim acquired EAS Airlines in 2006 and re-branded the airline NICON Airways – an unsuccessful venture as the airline was grounded the same year.
More unconfirmed reports: Arik Air may lose three wet-leased Dash 8-Q300s, as the Dutch lessor Denim Air is on the brink of bankruptcy. Earlier this month, Arik already returned four F50s to Denim, after contract renewal negotiations broke down and non-payment by Arik Air. Arik Air employs the Bombardier turboprops on thinner routes to Akure, Ilorin, Katsina, Kano, and Warri. Arik Air owns two Q400s but has not enough capacity to operate all these flights, let alone relaunch flights to Port Harcourt NAF Base and the Arik Niger operations.
Update: Denim Air filed for bankruptcy. One of the reasons given is non-payment by Arik Air. Allegedly, the airline owes Denim Air a few million Euros. It is unclear whether Denim’s Dash 8-Q300s are still operating for Arik Air at the moment, but the cancellation of several routes may be related to the return of the wet-leased aircraft.