By Chinedu Eze
Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, has said it has concluded plans to resume flights on Wednesday.
The airline, which stopped scheduled services on September 1, 2016, due to lack of funds and its inability to pay for the maintenance of its aircraft, said it would resume operations with a few flights.
It plans to resume flights with two Boeing B737-500s and one Bombardier Dash 8-300, but within a week would deploy two more Bombardier Dash 8-300s to bring its fleet to five aircraft.
The airline is resuming flights at a time the domestic market has been hamstrung by foreign exchange scarcity leading to the grounding of several un-serviced aircraft.
As a result, airlines can barely meet passengers’ demand, which has been characterised by flight cancellations and delays.
The situation has also further been exacerbated by inadequate supply of aviation fuel, known as Jet A1, currently priced at N240 per litre.
An informed source from the airline told THISDAY that labour issues, which delayed the airline’s resumption of operations had been resolved and the major condition given by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) that the company must restructure, was being met.
This means that Aero will lay off some workers, a plan that has received the tacit agreement of labour and, according to the source, Aero Contractors over time would bring back all of its aircraft comprising six Boeing B737-500s and three turbo props Dash 8-300s.
“We plan to resume on Wednesday but it is work in progress. We intend to start gradually then ramp up.
“We already have two Boeing B737-500s and one Dash 8 on the ground but we hope to get two more within days.
“We have resolved issues with the unions. We are going to bring all our airplanes back over time.
“We have agreed to restructure, which is the condition given by AMCON,” the source said.