Passengers stranded as Arik Air suspend operations

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Arik Air has suspended its flight operation due to its inability to immediately renew its aircraft insurance.

This was confirmed in a statement released by the airline’s spokesperson.

A statement by its spokesman, Mr Adebanji Ola said: “Arik Air, West and Central Africa’s largest airline has alerted all air travelers of a temporary disruption to its operations, pending approval of aircraft documentation related to insurance renewal.”

“The airline said that it was working around the clock to resolve the necessary documentation, which has been a challenge due to the long weekend holidays due to Ed al Adha.”

Thousands of passengers across Africa have been left stranded due to the suspended operations, which might remain grounded for several days.

Two other Nigerian carriers, Aero and First Nation, also suspended their flight operations this month.

A dire shortage of dollars, linked to the drop in the price of oil, which accounts for 70 percent of Nigeria’s economy, has drastically reduced banks’ liquidity and left the country’s airlines unable to pay their bills.

Sabotage by armed groups in the Delta region has also affected oil revenue.

Earlier this year Angola became Africa’s largest oil producer, overtaking longtime leader Nigeria, which slipped into recession at the end of August.

“The airline business is very capital intensive. No airline operator can do this business without having to go borrowing,” Allen Onyema, head of another airline, Air Peace, wrote in a newspaper column published on Tuesday.

“We need to have banks on our side. But I must say that a lot of them are scared of lending money,” he added.

International carriers have also been affected, with Emirates running a single daily flight to Dubai instead of the usual two, and Air France-KLM reducing passenger capacity by using smaller aircraft.

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