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Aero Contractors denies report of closing down

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AERO Contractors has debunked a report it was planning to shut down flight operations.

The airline, reacting to a news publication that it would be going under after 61 years of operation, said the story in question was “highly speculative and misleading.”

It explained in a statement that the airline, like every other airline, had its fair share of challenges, which had been brought to the fore by the Association of Nigerian Airlines (AON).

“These include high cost of aviation fuel, high foreign exchange rate, high maintenance cost, inflation and low purchasing power of the travelling public following the increase of fares,” the statement read.

It added, “Like many airlines in Nigeria, Aero Contractors have been operating daily, and facing the challenges squarely. We categorically deny any plan to close operations as the airline is proactively taking necessary measures and strategy to continue operation and ensure a great travel experience to our highly esteemed customers.”

The aviation firm boasted of its Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MROs) in West and Central Africa and licensed in over three countries, noting it was Nigeria’s oldest aviation company with the capacity to offer both scheduled airline services and maintenance for third party.

Despite these assurances, Aero Contractors has struggled to pay salaries in recent years. On February 15, 2022, aviation workers’ threatened to picket the airline over unpaid salary and poor working conditions.

Arik workers protest strike
Arik workers protest poor working conditions on December 4, 2020. Credit: Punch

The aggrieved workers demanded the payment of January salary, and immediate unfreezing of all conditions of service purportedly suspended by Aero’s management. They also sought the immediate termination of Airbus operations, “because it is a threat to the survival of Aero” and a demand for the “implementation of the report of the staff placement/re-grading committee.”

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Two years ago, exactly on March 17, 2017, The ICIR reported how the airline sacked 900 of its workers over its difficulty to pay salaries.

The airline’s media consultant, Simon Tumba, said in a statement that the airline had been grappling with paying the salaries of its workers and servicing its overhead cost, adding that it was no longer sustainable for the airline.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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