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Arik Air responds to grounding
Nigeria's largest airline was grounded last Thursday due to massive debts it owes to the FAAN despite its claims that it owes nothing.
Arik Air supposedly owes billions of dollars to the FAAN, or Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. The carrier owes more than $6 billion in landing fees to Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport alone. The carrier owes money to 22 other airports but the amounts were not revealed.
The FAAN also says that the airline has failed to pay back passenger service charges, which are five dollars per passenger, or 1,000 naira. Arik owes thousands of dollars in these fees.
Saleh Dunima, Managing Director of the FAAN, did not reveal Arik Air's total debt.
However, Arik Air disagrees with the FAAN's claim. The carrier said that they had paid $19.8 billion to the FAAN in 2014 and owed nothing. In 2012, the carrier was grounded and settled its old debts with the FAAN. The FAAN moved to a model where carriers would pay as debts accrued in that same year.
As a result of the grounding, thousands of passengers were stranded in Nigerian airports.
In a statement, Arik Air called the FAAN's claim "bogus" and "unacceptable".
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