Aero Contractors rebounds, marks 60th anniversary
Aero Contractors airlines, yesterday, commemorated its 60th anniversary with signs of a rebound in operations and fortunes.The oldest surviving airlines in Nigeria reeled out new positives in commercial flight services, charter operations and critical maintenance services to the air travel industry.
Stakeholders that attended the commemorative event at Aero’s headquarters in Lagos, commended the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), the Receiver Manager, Chief Executive Officer of the airline and staffers that stayed back during the trying times.
Recall that the airlines was in financial and operational crisis between 2013 and 2016, when the Federal Government, through AMCON, later took over its management to save it from collapse and attendant job losses. With the injection of fund, the new management has been able to sustain the airline, develop its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), and slowly return to the recovery path.
Chief Executive Officer of the airlines, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said the airlines in less than three years had risen from the ashes, adding that stakeholders’ individual and collective sacrifices, resilience, and insistence that the airline is lifted up, is paying off and yielding visible results.
He said Aero was divided into four smart business units, comprising of the airline services, AMO, approved training organisation and charter services. Sanusi further said: “The airline has since December 2016 returned to full operations and grown its fixed wing operational aircraft from one to four. It is our expectation to grow our fixed wing aircraft to six by the close of this year. The present count of four aircraft improved our domestic flight operations to 32 daily.
“From one helicopter in 2017, we now have five operational helicopters with capacity to further grow this number to 10 helicopters by close of the year so as to deepen our services. In all, we began our repositioning journey growing our domestic operations from eight to 32 daily flights, from ferrying 8,000 passengers per month, to 52,000 passengers per month in and out of the several airports in our route,” Sanusi said.
He added that leveraging on the AMO licence granted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Aero has successfully conducted three C-checks on 737 Classics Boeing aircraft, relying wholly on indigenous engineers with technical support from Messrs AJWaters/South African Airlines (SAA) Technics partners.
The Director-General, NCAA, Group Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita, congratulated Aero Contractors for the milestone, adding that the airlines has always been regulatory compliant, and urged to continue on the path of growth, as there is a lot more to be done in the industry. Former DG of the NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, reckoned that 60 years of existence and transporting millions of passengers with zero accident is a huge achievement.
Demuren recalled that most of them started their career with the airlines, at a time Aero Contractors dominated the airspace, especially in the oil and gas industry.“I never regretted my days at the NCAA and insistence on what must be done. I am more happy that today, you (Aero Contractors) are now maintaining B737 aircraft. I congratulate AMCON for the assistance given to the industry. Otherwise, these airlines will not be here.”