Aviation czar, Captain Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, in Lagos on Tuesday eulogised Aero workers and management for their resilience, doggedness and insistence that the airline will not sink. Sanusi also praised the federal government for authorising Assets Management of Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) led by Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru to intervene in the airline, which commenced its turn around.
Sanusi who spoke during the 60th anniversary of the airline at its headquarters at Lagos airport, said the new management took series of difficult but needed decisions, which returned Aero to the path of profitability. He said such decisions at the time would not have be realized without the cooperation of the committed staff who genuinely wanted the airline to survive against all odds.
He said, “From February 2013 to August 2016, Aero faced hard times due to a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors, Aero was under-performing and almost insolvent, it was navigating from one crisis to another, which threatened its very existence. By this time however, Aero had become a national brand offering skilled employment to the Nigerian aviation professionals and contributing to deepening the sector.
“These factors in addition to a pragmatic Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, riding on the commitment of federal government to support indigenous companies, rescued Aero from total collapse by stepping in through AMCON to reposition Aero on the path of financial solvency. It was in this period that I was appointed CEO with the responsibility of recalibrating the technical and operational capacities of Aero. Our individual and collective responsibilities and experience have not been a tea party; they have been marked by series of hard choices we both had to take, which ranged from surmounting operational challenges to managing employee matters to debt recoveries. The journey is still on-going, we pay tribute to the Receiver Manager and to all Aero staff who have persevered and gave us reasons to plough-on with hard tasks of repositioning Aero.”
The elated CEO who is loved by all staff of Aero, continued, “Like a Phoenix, Aero has risen from its hard times, our individuals and collective sacrifices, resilience and insistence that this airline is lifted back up is paying off and yielding visible results. The airline services have since December 2016, returned to full operations and grown its fixed wing operational aircraft from one to 4, it is our expectation to grow it to 6 by the close of this year. This has improved our domestic operations to 32 daily. From one helicopter in 2017, we now have 5 operational helicopters with capacity to further grow this to 10 by close of the year. We began our repositioning journey growing our domestic operations from 8 to 32 daily flights, from ferrying 8,000 passengers per month to 52,000 per month,” he added.
He also reminded his audience that within the period in review that the Aircraft Maintenance Organization granted to Aero the status as the first domestic company to obtain a Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) an approved maintenance organization with capacity to conduct C-Checks on B737 classics. Sanusi also revealed that the airline has secured authorisation to carry out aircraft maintenance in Congo and Ghana, adding that talks are on with Cameroonian and Malian government for the same service.
Aero he noted has successfully conducted three C-checks on B737 CL, relying wholly on its indigenous engineers with technical support from Messers AJW/SAA technicians, which is their partners. The amiable CEO promised that his vision for the airline is to work hard to ensure that Aero regains its prime position of dominance and excellence in both the domestic and regional routes, among others.