After months of skeletal operations which saw the airline’s schedules shrinking to a very low ebb, Nigeria’s 2nd biggest indigenous airline, Aero Contractors, yesterday announced the suspension of its scheduled services with effect from today, September 1.
The Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the development was part of the strategic business realignment to reposition the airline and return it to profitability.
The suspension of the airline’s services was the culmination of its seemingly unending operational woes which necessitated its take-over by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Despite AMCON’s intervention in February and the appointment of a Receiver-Manager, Mr. Tunde Gbenro and then Capt. Akinkuotu, the airline owned by the Alex Ibru family could not rise on its feet as its operations continued to shrink.
Aero recently suspended its operation to Accra, Ghana, a decision it attributed to unavailability of aircraft.
However, the airline announced outright suspension of scheduled services with effect from today. It has asked the affected staff to proceed on leave of absence indefinitely.
Akinkuotu explained that the airline had faced grave challenges in the past six months which impacted its business and by extension its scheduled services operations.
He said the airline’s rise was thwarted largely by the harsh operational environment which had made it difficult for it to continue its scheduled services.
He said during the period in review, Aero, which was reputed for its safety and timeliness among other qualities suffered epileptic operations and services to the external publics caused by non-alignment of fundamental issue of the business, which were also frustrating and embarrassing to all parties including staff, customers and indeed all stakeholders.
In a statement, Akinkuotu said: “Unfortunately, the operating environment within and outside the airline have hindered any possible progress especially in the last six months when the naira depreciated against the dollar thus making it impossible for the airline to achieve its operational targets.”