…says airline carries 2.8m passengers since Nov 2012
…explains current operating status at airline
…denies indebtedness to foreign companies
By Sade Williams
Medview Airline managing director and chief executive officer, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, has given insights into the current position of things in the airline.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos at the weekend, he reconfirmed that the airline owns the four aircraft currently in its fleet, adding that two of them have been taken out for maintenance.
He said the airline has now consolidated and rescheduled its domestic operations to tally with what it has in its fleet.
While dispelling rumour that that the company owes three months salary, Bankole said Medview was currently rationalizing its workforce, adding that it has laid off 52 workers in an exercise he said was continuous.
He however said those that were affected might have peddled some rumour that are untrue about the airline.
“Since we started operations in 2012, we have airlifted 2.8 million passengers, we are very committed to our work, we are safety conscious, there had been no serious incident or accident, we are still operating to our Francophone West African countries.
“We currently have four airplanes and Medview owns all because the best way to survive it to own your assets, the aircraft were bought with our money, we were attracted to First Bank by our prudence and with our cash flow, we purchased these aircraft through the bank, we have the bill of sale, in 2015, we bought the B737-500 (5N-BQM) and again, we bought another one christened Abeke n and that is currently being reconfigured from 221 to 242 capacity.
“But we leased two others and we have since returned them, although the decision to return them affected our London and Dubai operations and then the B737 is on C-check and that has also affected our scheduled operations, so rather than flying all, we have consolidated our domestic operations but by the first week of May, it will be back to operations”, he said.
Bankole, who spoke further about staff rationalization and its foreign partners said: Staff rationalization is on-going and I know that those affected might have said so many things, we had a ‘one-on-one with the CEO’ from all the 18 stations and they were duly informed, 52 staff were laid off and we are still doing it. We have to go through the process of disengagement, it is not our own intention but we have to do it.
“The exercise has affected captains, engineers, ground staff and those indicted, we have paid January salary, we have paid 60 percent of staff in February and you have to give them one month in lieu and they also need to go through clearance and submit any Medview property in their possession, that is the position, we are not owing anybody”, he added.
While explaining further that it was not indebted to any foreign company, not even Gatwick authority, he said Menzies, its handling partner that allegedly caused an issue on the London route, was sanctioned by the airport authority in the United Kingdom.
Bankole appealed to its guests, especially those on international route to exercise patience with the airline as the aircraft meant for Dubai route which is being reconfigured, would soon be deployed back to the fleet.
“In January this year, we carried 9,000 passengers on the London route, it is a profitable route and Nigerians are happy with our operations but what we have done in the past few months is to return the aircraft we leased when we had issue with it but we do have a relationship with Gatwick, we are also not competing with any airline because many of the foreign airlines are being subsidized by their governments, we have a different model and environment in Nigeria’, added.