Apparently seeing the diversity of aircraft coming in from players in the aviation sector in the country, the management of Aero Contractors has said that its Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO) is studying trends with regards aircraft acquisition in the country and has trained not less than 45 engineers on the Q-400 aircraft as well as others on the Embraer E145 to boost capacity to meet future aircraft maintenance demands in the country.
It also disclosed that to avoid seeking scarce foreign exchange, which makes up over 90% of aviation business, it is only logical that airlines in the country look towards the Aero AMO for maintenance.
Managing Director and Accountable Manager of the airline, Captain Abdulahi Mahmood who spoke on the advantages to key into the Aero MRO said that it will carry out the maintenance for Nigerian aircraft and will charge naira, save the airline ferrying fuel costs as well as over flyer charges.
He said, “I am looking at myself as a 3rd party to Aero contractors as Aero has the AOC and AMO and I have the AOC. The AMO is a different business unit entirely. The AMO do maintenance for Aero aircraft, the AMO will charge the AOC as if Aero contractors is taking their aircraft to an outside maintenance facility. So, if Aero aircraft has a challenge the AOC will send the aircraft to the AMO and that’s how it works.
“Now, as a third party, the most logical thing for me to do is if I have a maintenance organization that would maintain my aircraft, the most logical thing no sentiments, no bias, I will it send to Aero Contractors. Simple, We just talked about forex, I don’t need to search for forex to fly my aircraft out, all I do is for Aero to charge me in naira, I sell my ticket in naira, the cargo people pay me in naira if aero is charging me I pay then in naira, I don’t need to go to the black market to start looking for forex, “ he said.
Giving an exemplar description Captain Mahmood said,” If I am going to fly my aircraft to probably to Madrid, Spain, if I am to calculate how much it would take me, the fuel to fly the aircraft to Madrid because you are ferrying the aircraft empty, you’re flying there empty and returning empty. You will pay over-flight services, you will pay your crew, and you will pay your representative who is going to be in that place till the aircraft is out. READ ALSO: Aero MRO has capacity for Embraers, NGs but will gravity towards market- Capt Sanusi.
“But when you bring your aircraft here (aero) you have avoided all that cost, so it’s the most logical thing to do.”
On trends Nigeria is currently experiencing many investors planning to enter the aviation industry and some have decided already on the choice of aircraft being used, as there are a number of E145 Embraer aircraft, ATR-72-600s, CRJs, Airbus A220s this has led to diversity in aircraft choices and the need to diversify the requirement for maintenance.
Currently, Aero Contractors has been approved by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to maintain the Boeing 737 Classics, Dash-8, Bombardier Q-400 and helicopters but is already building capacity to pursue and seek approval to add other kinds of aircraft.
Head of the Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO), James Ominyi told reporters that training was ongoing but that apart from training a lot of money needed to go into expensive equipment.
He said,” We saw this coming and a number of engineers were trained on the E145 already, we recently did training for 45 engineers for the Q400 and we are watching the trend and we are training our people but these things do not happen because we need to buy expensive machinery, specialized tools to be able to get the approval but the important thing is to start the training.
“We have people trained on the E145s and 45 people recently trained on the Q400 training for the Q300 is coming up in a month’s times and then we’d take it from there so it is one step at a time, and I know once we have the trained personnel, we will get the approvals. Rome was not built in a day.”
Captain Mahmood also added, “In aero generally we sit down and make good planning. We are here to do business and as a businessperson we are asking ourselves in this thing we are doing are we going to make money? The maintenance team has started looking around and they realize there are a lot of Embraer 145 in the country, and they want to capture this market and to capture the market they have to do training of their team. Of the things they need to do is to seek approval from the NCAA and to get the NCAA approval we have to tighten our certification and then we are in business.”