Aero recovering, expands travel market with two A320

 Nigerian airlines are beginning to expand the space for newer and relatively newer airplanes, signposting a shift from the old order where geriatric aircraft dominated the airspace. What is seen now is the acquisition of fuel-efficient, performance-efficient A320 airplanes by Aero Contractors. Other Nigerian carriers are equally acquiring several types of aircraft.

Ever since Airbus launched its single-aisle jetliner family with the A320, it has set the standard as the world’s most comfortable short-to-medium- haul aircraft-which is just one of the many reasons why it is the most successful aircraft of all time.

The two aircraft leased by House of Five A’s will boost the fleet of Aero and provide the much-needed capacity to serve the Nigerian market. The aircraft is the first of its kind in the Nigerian market.

Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood alighting from aircraft as Aero made its inaugural flight to Bauchi…recently

The Chief Executive of Aero, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood said: “ We are pleased to secure these two aircraft through House of Five A’s which will boost our fleet and give us the needed capacity in the Nigerian market while making us more efficient and offer more comfort to our customers.

“ These new-generation aircraft are suitable to our operations in this market. We have established an excellent relationship with the lessors and the financier and we are looking forward to a stronger relationship between both parties.

READ ALSO:  FAAN remits N2b to Federation’s account, pleads for bailout to address facility decay

Aero Contractors is currently in Receivership by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Captain Mahmood was appointed Managing Director of Aero Contractors in January to build on the success of his predecessor Captain Ado Sanusi. In nine months he has strengthened the airline, expanding the frontiers of the Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) arm of the company and increasing its capacity to maintain more aircraft.

Nigeria’s oldest airline, once a reference point in the airline business in the country was surprisingly mismanaged, leading to what is seen as falling from its enviable height to a pitiable solution.

 Meanwhile, the airline has shown the desire to reposition and reclaim its rightful place in the aviation industry. The carrier has done a lot to reinvent itself and it gradually winning back the confidence of the flying public.

 One of the ways of doing that is by a first and foremost focus on its MRO which serves two purposes: Help it maintain its airplanes in-house and offer its services to third parties in a bid to generate enormous resources.

 Former Managing Director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCOM) backed Aero, Capt. Ado Sanusi worked tirelessly to take the carrier out of the woods. The incumbent Managing Director of the airline, Capt. Mahmood has improved on what he met on the ground by expanding the carrier’s route network.

READ ALSO:  Emirates restates commitment to Nigeria, SVP hosts historic travel event in Abuja

Aero Contractors case is one that can best be described as rising from dead. Not many gave it a chance to survive the turbulence of Nigeria’s aviation industry.

The resilience of the airline and that of the management team has again rekindled hope that the indomitable spirit of Nigerians in all spheres of human endeavours propels them to a greater height.

The can-do spirit of the airline not to go the ways of many airlines is really a lesson in endurance, focus, and hard work.

Aero had been embroiled in crises that almost led to its collapse. The near-collapse of Aero was self-inflicted as former owners of the once flourishing airline in collaboration with some management staff of the airline allegedly raped the airline and seriously compromised safety standards.

To summarise it, Aero was almost at ground zero! Aero Contractors Airline, hitherto a premium brand in Nigeria’s aviation sector is today, a shadow of its old self in a corporate evolution that has lately assumed an undulating historical trajectory.

At inception in 1959 and for several decades after Aero Contractors carved a niche for itself and rose to stardom in Nigeria’s competitive aviation industry through high safety standards, reliability, and exceptional customer-friendly services for all of which it was reputed. It thus did not take long before this airline shot itself to the leadership position in the industry.

READ ALSO:  Nigeria Air's AOC: NCAA awaits security clearance
Aero Contractors B737 aircraft

Historically speaking, Aero Contractors was initially wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V. of the Netherlands. In 1973, however, it became a company with 40% Nigerian holding which rose to 60% in 1976; and in January 2004, Canadian Helicopter Corporation, CHC bought over Schreiner Airways and also acquired 40% holding in Aero Contractors while the majority 60% shareholding remained with Nigeria’s Ibru family.

In service offering, the airline, over the years, metamorphosed from rendering air chartered services to church missionaries throughout the country and to the Niger Pools to transport betting coupons to Lagos, to offering diversified services to the then embryonic oil and gas industry by ferrying seismic crew in the Delta area of the River Niger; and later ventured into schedule operations both on the domestic and international schedule passengers services in 2000, flying to 13 destinations with its Boeing 737-400, Boeing 737-500 series and De Havilland Dash 8-Q200, De Havilland Dash 8-Q300, De Havilland Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, respectively.

Wole Shadare