UgoAliogo, and OmotayoAjayi
Nigeriaâ€™s oldest carrier, Aero Contractors would save Nigerian airlines about N30 billion annually which they spend on aircraft maintenance overseas, as the airline would now offer maintenance services to domestic operators up to C-check.
Aero would offer maintenance services on Boeing B737 classics, which is the major aircraft type operated by many Nigerian airlines.
The maintenance facility was approved recently by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and given certification to the airline as Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) for C-Check on the B737 Classic.
At a media briefing in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said that the approval represents a major milestone in their turn-around efforts, adding that the management has refused to be undaunted by challenges.
He also stated that the feat has so many far reaching benefits for the company, stressing that it would reflect directly in significant drop in maintenance cost for airlines in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as reduction in downtime for such checks.
Sanusi added that it would also benefit the aviation industry, noting that the company would remain committed to the demands of survival with professional and business minded doggedness.
He said: â€œIt is important to note that the approval by the NCAA came after completing a number of check list of items at the hanger as directed by the NCAA, including extensive expansion of the hangar space. This approval also adds to existing facilities such as wheel and brake, battery shop and upholstery. A normal C-check will cost an airline between $1.8-2million. There are strategic future plans of turning the compound and this is one of them. On the whole, we look forward to the greater fits as we bravely march out of our present downturn to a future that is set to be even brighter than our past glory. Yes, it will take patience and hard work. But, we are determined.â€
Sanusi who took over the management of the company as CEO in February was said to have revived the airline, which was almost going under and he also reawakened the maintenance facility that hitherto was in comatose.
Before the recent approval by NCAA, Aero had the capability to offer comprehensive maintenance on helicopters and Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft.
Industry operators described the maintenance status of the airline as a milestone because before now no Nigerian airline or organisation carries out major aircraft maintenance in the country and the airlines spend huge resources maintaining their aircraft overseas, thus stretching Nigeriaâ€™s foreign exchange.