Aero Contractors Airlines, Nigeria’s second largest commercial carrier, has confirmed an exclusive report of The PUNCH by announcing the suspension of its scheduled services beginning from Thursday September 1, 2016.
On Monday, August 22, 2016, The PUNCH exclusively reported that the airline was set to lay off some of its workers due to its worsening financial crisis.
The report also noted that the carrier was in talks with aviation unions on how to cut down on the number of workers in its employ, after sources from the sector revealed that Aero was contemplating a suspension of its scheduled flight services.
Confirming this in a statement signed by the carrier’s management on Wednesday, Aero stated that the suspension was part of the strategic business realignment to reposition the airline and return it to profitability.
It stated that this “business decision”, which is a result of the current economic situation in the country, had forced some other airlines to suspend operations or pull out of Nigeria.
The management of the carrier said the airline had faced grave challenges in the past six months which impacted its business and by extension the scheduled services operations.
These factors, according to Aero, are both internal and external environmental factors that have made it difficult for it to continue its scheduled services.
It stated that during the period in review, Aero witnessed epileptic operations and services to the external public that were caused by non-alignment of fundamental issue of the business, which in some cases had been frustrating and embarrassing to all parties including staff, customers and indeed all stakeholders.
As part of its resolve to ensure the airline survived unlike most other carriers that experienced short life span in the country, AMCON had appointed Mr. Adeniyi Adegbomire SAN as Receiver Manager in February 6, 2016, with the aim of turning the airline around.
Since AMCON’s intervention in Aero Contractors in 2011, it had provided support for the airline to meet working capital requirements and fleet expansion.
These were to ensure the airline remains a going concern providing services to various clients and the general public.
But the airline noted that unfortunately, the operating environment within and outside the Aero had hindered any possible progress especially in the last six months when the naira depreciated against the dollar thus making it impossible for the airline to achieve its operational targets.
It started that with these realities coupled with protracted engagements with all relevant stakeholders, the management strenuously reviewed and assessed options and opportunities on ensuring viability, safety and sustainability of operations during the period with a lot of sacrifices.
The airline said, “The impact of the external environment has been very harsh on our operational performance, hence management decision to suspend scheduled services operations indefinitely effective September 1, 2016, pending when the external opportunities and a robust sustainable and viable plan is in place for Aero Contractors to recommence its scheduled services.
“The implication of the suspension of scheduled services operations extends to all staffs directly and indirectly involved in providing services as they are effectively to proceed on indefinite leave of absence during the period of non-services.
It added, “We are aware of the impact this will have on our staff and our highly esteemed customers, hence we have initiated moves to ensure that we are able to return back to operations within the shortest possible time, offering reliable, safe and secure operations, which the airline is known for.”