Thursday, September 20, 2012

Arik Air collapse threatens Boeing orders: The Nigerian airline has pending orders for both 747-8 jumbo jets and 787 Dreamliners

By Dominic Gates

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

In a blow to Boeing's order book, West African airline Arik Air has ceased operations indefinitely amid chaos in Nigeria's aviation sector.

The Associated Press reported that Arik Air cancelled its flights Thursday after men rampaged through its maintenance hangar at the International Airport in the Nigerian capital, Lagos.

The airline's executives blamed employees of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. The airport authority in turn blamed the raid on unions upset over unpaid salaries. And the union alleged corruption and non-payment of wages, according to AP.

A spokesman for the country's Aviation Ministry later told AP that Arik was using the disruption of its flights as an excuse to try and escape paying money owed to the federal government.

Arik was one of the few remaining airlines operating in Nigeria. It is one of only three airline customers with orders for the passenger model of Boeing's new jumbo jet, the 747-8.

Boeing has pending firm orders from Arik for two 747-8s, eight 737s and seven 787-9s.

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