Nollywood Media | 17 June 2010 22:52 CET

Air Nigeria unveils first re-branded aircraft

By Okechukwu Nnodim

Nigeria's flag carrier, Air Nigeria, on Wednesday in Lagos formally made public its first re-branded aircraft.

Unveiling the airplane on the tarmac of the new domestic terminal, Murtala Mohammed International 2 (MMA2), the management of the carrier told aviation correspondents that the new name will be on all its fleet in due course.

“We told you a week ago that the aircraft will arrive and to the glory of God, we have it here, this is the first aircraft that will be named Air Nigeria and this is to demonstrate how far we are progressing in the turn-around,” said Jimoh Ibrahim, group managing director for the airline.

Congratulating Nigerians on the feat, Mr. Ibrahim promised that the rebranded Nigerian Eagle Airline, formerly known as Virgin Nigeria, that is now Air Nigeria has come to stay, adding that more aeroplanes are going to be added to the airline's fleet.

“I can assure that on this project, I am committed and I want to congratulate Nigerians for having an airline of their own that they can be proud of. Whether you like it or not, it has come to stay, I have no apology for anyone that doesn't like it,” he said.

“More aircraft will start coming in from now, we expect the arrival of two aircraft in the livery of Air Nigeria in the next 15 days, thereafter another four will arrive and then we will have a dozen aircraft by the 1st of October; and by then we would have finished with the first phase of the turnaround, we will then move to Human resources.”

Early this month, Air Nigeria at a briefing held at its headquarters in Lagos, disclosed that the new name of its carrier became necessary in order to make the airline fully indigenous, adding that the change was effected sequel to the resolution of the board on May 14, and that the name has been approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and has been registered with a certificate number RC501975.

Indebtedness to banks

On the airline's debt with Guarantee Trust Bank, the NICON group boss disclosed that Air Nigeria has cleared all that it owed the financial institution, and that the case in court has been closed.

“On GTB, I am sure that you know that the issue has been rested, but don't ask how it was rested, that is the job of the turnaround. That has come to an end, all those unwanted criticism that GTB is a problem will not happen.

“The GTB case is dead and it has been discontinued, for what we did was to pay after having a meeting; we did not restructure the debt, we fully discharged the debt and we are not indebted to Guarantee Trust to one Kobo again,” said Mr. Ibrahim.

The airline's boss promised that its indebtedness to another bank in the country will be cleared shortly, adding that loans are necessary for a company's survival.

“We are dealing with two banks, we've paid one, the other one will get its pay in the next two weeks, for we are to pay them hundred per cent and they will give us a letter of non-indebtedness and their debt will become zero,” he said “It is not as if you should not take loans, you can take it and then pay back, we will still take more loans but we want to know the capacity of paying back what we have taken.”

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