Angst, breach of trust expose Medview’s soft underbelly

*Chairman faults company’s failure to remit dividends

*Accuses airline of illegality

 

 

All may not be well with Medview Airlines as the chairman of the carrier; Sheikh Abdulmosen Al-Thunnayan is seeking to pull his investment out of the embattled airline.

He is in dispute with the company over the company’s ‘failure to remit dividends due to him on his investment in Medview Airlines  and to render proper account of the company’s affairs’.

He has however instructed his legal counsel to take appropriate steps to challenge what he described as the ‘ Illegality’ of the management of the airline to sell two airplanes belonging to the carrier to pay off debts of the airline.

In what seems to be a love lost between him and his Nigerian investor, the chairman in an advertorial said the matter is currently subject of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/34/2020, pending at the Lagos division of the Federal  High Court.

Counsel to Thunnayan, ALP NG and Co stated in the suite that persons seeking to purchase the aircraft or any property belonging to Medview Airline and the general public are hereby put on notice that any dealings they may have in regard may form part of the aforementioned lawsuit.

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Al-Thunnayan  is a national of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the founder and chairman of Medview Airline Plc.

The carrier was incorporated in 2004 with the primary objective of carrying on business as operators of charter flights and commuter flights between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Medview commenced flight operations within Nigeria in 2012 and was granted a licence to operate international flights in 2014.

 

Medview B737 aircraft

 

 

Sheikh Al-Thunnayan holds three billion, five hundred and ten million shares in the airline, representing 36 per cent of the total shares in the company.

Medview had penultimate week in a notice published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company said it had agreed to sell two aircraft to pay offset its debts. The decision was reached at a Zoom board meeting.

In an earlier notice, the board said it would meet to deliberate on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of airlines in the aviation sector and the financial status of the company.

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According to the statement, the aircraft to be sold are B737-400 5N-MAA aeroplane in Estonia and the B737-400 5N-MAA aircraft in Lagos.

It said the sale would help it “liquidate part of its indebtedness and inject part of the funds into its operations so as to jump-start it again after the COVID-19 pandemic total lock-down”.

It also said the management approved the return of a leased aircraft engine with engine number CFM56-3C1 ESN 857871 to Aeolus, the lessor, so as to obviate the payment of additional rent.

The resignation of two directors, Ayodeji Ariyo Gbeleyi and Olabode Kacheef Oyedele, were also accepted at the meeting.

The aviation industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fortune of the company started dwindling in 2017 when its flight from Lagos to London was disrupted, leaving its passengers stranded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

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In April 2018, Med-View Airlines suspended all international operations while also reducing regional routes on its flight schedule to just two cities.

The airline, which once had about six aircraft in its fleet, suspended flight operations to Gatwick, London, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The airline blamed what it described as a temporary suspension of its international operations on bad leasing arrangement for two operating aircrafts servicing the London, Dubai and West Coast routes.

Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Muneer Bankole, explained that the leased Boeing 777 aircraft developed faults and failure of the lessor to avail an alternative aircraft as agreed, affected the operations.

According to him, the airline had not left the international operation because it could not meet its financial obligations on the international front but for operational difficulties which they had learnt from to emerge better.

 

Wole Shadare