Nigerian airlines post losses for 30 years, Aero chief list carriers’ pitfalls

  • Aero re-launches flights Dec 5
  • Plans regional operations

  The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi has highlighted the precarious nature of the airline business in Nigeria, disclosing that no airline in the country has posted a profit in the past 30 years.

Sanusi who spoke at the re-launch of Aero Contractors Airlines on Thursday at the carrier’s hangar at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos said most airlines in the country are challenged by multiple taxations over the years and the recent scarcity of Foreign exchange that has continued to cripple the operations of the carriers.

He stated that there was nowhere in the world where airlines or any business are taxed to grow, stressing that airlines year in the year for over three decades have been having financial challenges.

From Left, Chief Pilot Aero Contractors, Capt. Imoleayo, Adebule, Media Consultant for AMCON, Mr. Simon Tumba and MD Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi

Aviation in Nigeria is going through turbulence with excruciating hikes and scarcity of jet fuel and foreign exchange scarcity make it very tough for the carriers, culminating in the price of air tickets that has led to a drop in passenger traffic.

While many airlines in Africa and elsewhere post results of profits and losses, no Nigerian carrier has ever opened its books to scrutiny as many of them do not run on accountability and transparency in their resources, with stakeholders calling for a financial audit of many of the carriers that are said to be in financial dire straits.

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The situation and many other factors have been attributed to the short lifespan of many airlines in the country.

According to Sanusi, “Most airlines are challenged by multiple taxations and foreign exchange issues. Airline year in the year for over three decades has been having financial challenges. They are taxing them too much. You cannot tax to grow. It is not possible. It is not done anywhere. We have to look inward first to address the latent problems of airlines in this country”.

“Every airline has had challenges with finances for the past 30 years. I don’t think any airline has posted a profit in this country. What does that tell you? Something is wrong. Other airlines everywhere even in Africa are posting profits. Definitely, something is wrong somewhere.”

The airline chief further stated that Aero before now had challenges and the reason the carrier voluntarily suspended flight services on July 20, 2022.

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 As part of efforts to reduce costs and be profitable, Sanusi hinted that the carrier looked at its cost structures through its decision to outsource some strategic business units that they have to complement the airline so that they could reduce spending and reduce costs.

“We are pleased and delighted to return to services after a few months. We thank all our stakeholders who have been supportive, particularly the NCAA, our management, and our staff. I admit that we missed our customers dearly. Yes, we have challenges with finances and we have looked at our cost structure we are trying to reduce our costs by outsourcing some strategic business units that we have to complement the airline so that we can reduce spending and reduce our costs.

“What we are doing is to reduce our costs and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has graciously given us permission to raise funds with financial institutions inside the country and outside the country”.

Chairman of, the Technical Advisory Committee for Aero Contractors, Dr. Harold Demuren said the carrier for the future, promising that the carrier would take its rightful place in the industry after operating for more than 63 years.

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He thanked the staff and management for keeping the spirit alive, describing workers as the assets of any company.

In a related development, Aero Contractors has concluded plans to operate regional flights last quarter of 2023.

Aero Contractors B737 aircraft

Sanusi who spoke to Aviation Metrics on the sidelines of the re-launch of the carrier disclosed that the airline would not necessarily fly its aircraft in the region but could see it enter into a codeshare agreement with strong regional airlines.

Sanusi said that at the appropriate time, the carrier would unveil some of its packages that would make it different from what the carrier used to be, adding that the airline would operate B737 classic, Dash 8 Q400, and 300 among other aircraft to service ten destinations like Warri, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Yola, Kano,  Asaba and Calabar among others.

Wole Shadare