24 hours after aviation unions workers disrupted its flight at the General Aviation Terminal ( GAT) , of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos over alleged N12.5 billion debt , Arik Air said yesterday that it has paid into the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN ) over N18.9 billion as airport charges since 2006 till date .
Its Managing Director, Mr Chris Ndulue disclosed yesterday describing the disruption of its operation by FAAN workers and union members as violation of legal attempts to reconcile figures between the. authority and the airline .
Ndulue said out of the N18.9 billion paid by the airline into FAAN account the, authority acknowledged N14.4 billion.
He said it is startling that FAAN could not account for the outstanding N7.5 billion that mysteriously disappeared from its account .
Though, he did not disclose huge sums lost to its disrupted flights on Wednesday by Aviation Unions , the Arik Air boss said the airline is deliberating other measures to seek redress over the matter even it its management met Minister of State, Aviation , Senator Hadi Sirika to formally protest the illegal action .
He said the airline over time has made efforts to work out an amicable resolution of the disputed figures through legal representations in response to a suit filed at the Federal High Court , Lagos by FAAN .
FAAN , he said has not been forthcoming with details on how to resolve the impasse despite Ministerial interventions through committees set up to reconcile the figures .
He said the resort to self help by FAAN workers and aviation union members to attempt to recover alleged debts through intimation will not force Arik Air to pay for services that have not been formally documented .
He said Arik Air will continue to explore existing legal instrument and channels to fight for its legitimate claims .
He said FAAN had initially concluded plans to impound its aircraft , but jettisoned it .
The latest move of using unions to disrupt the operations of an airline he said is contrary to laid down rules to resolve conflict between organizations.
Ndulue said :” FAAN claimed that we are owing them several amounts , which keeps changing .
“They even planned to impound our aircraft, but changed the plan.
Only on Wednesday , without notice FAAN workers disrupted our operations .
We refused by be intimidated by such underhand methods .
We will not be frustrated to pay for services we cannot prove we have been provided without any documentary evidence .
These illegal attempts is in violation of existing reconciliation moves both at the courts and the ministry of aviation .
We wonder why FAAN will violate on going negotiations .
This is unlawful and unwarranted .
We want FAAN to tell the world what happened to the N18.9 billion we paid since inception, for which they could only acknowledge only N11.4 billon .
What happened to the ousts ding N7.5 billion . Did the money disappear mysteriously ?”