By Chinelo Obogo [email protected]
Four months after suspending its services, Aero Contractors management said it will resume flight operations on December 5 to 10 destinations.
The airline said it will commence with B737 and Dash 8 (Q- 300/400) having satisfied regulatory requirements by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). It will relaunch services with five aircraft.
On July 20, 2022, Aero Contractors shut down its operations over what it said was the impact of the challenging operating environment on its daily operations. The airline temporarily suspended its scheduled passenger services operations but the suspension did not affect the maintenance activities of its Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) otherwise known as AeroMRO, the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) also known as Aero Training School, the Helicopter and Charter Services operations.
At that time, the airline said most of its aircraft were on C-check and undergoing maintenance, hence, it would be unable to offer efficient services to its customers. It also said it was it was liaising with partner airlines that are part of the Spring Alliance to minimise the impact of its decision.
But speaking on Thursday at a press conference at its Lagos office to announce the resumption of operations, the Managing Director of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, said the company now has four strategic business models to strengthen its operations.
Sanusi, who disclosed that Aero is starting operations with a new management said it will relaunch services to Warri, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Benin, Yola, Kano, Asaba and Calabar. He expressed hope that the airline will overcome the challenges of the sector which are not peculiar to Aero alone, stressing that the airline has learnt from its mistakes and restrategised to re-launch services.
“The parameters have changed, we have looked inward and we are ready to face the worst challenges ahead with a new business model. The airline will be operating with Boeing 737 and Dash 8 (Q- 300/400) servicing ten destinations. These destinations include; Warri, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Benin, Yola, Sokoto, Kano, Asaba and Calabar.
“The airline has four business development units, namely; the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), the Fixed Wing airline operations, the Rotary Wing helicopter services and the Aero Training School. We are pleased and delighted to resume full services after a few months. We thank all our stakeholders who have been supportive, particularly the NCAA, our management and staff. I admit that we missed our customers dearly and we are back bigger and better to serve them better,” he said.
For Aero, he admitted financing problems, while stating that ahead of their re-launch, the management has looked at the cost structure and was looking at outsourcing things that could be outsourced “to reduce cost, and the business units that we have to compliment the airline so that we can reduce spending outside.”
He also disclosed that AMCON has also given the company the oppuortunity to raise funds from financial institutions in and outside the country.
“We need as aviation industry to come together and understand why every year for the past three decades we have been experiencing financial problems. May be we are taxing them too much. I keep saying it, we cannot tax the airlines to grow the sector and it is not done anywhere.
“I don’t think any airline has posted profit (in the past 30 years). That means there is something wrong, may be the environment we are operating in. Other airlines outside, even in Africa, post profits, so why are we not posting profits? That means there is something fundamentally wrong,” he said.
Aero Contractors is commencing operations with a new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Ado Sanusi, an erstwhile Managing Director of the airline; and a new Chief Finance Officer, Mr Charles Grant.