(Breaking News)Aero Suspends Scheduled Operations Tomorrow
…As Ticket, Check-In Counters Remain Empty At MMA2
Aero Contractors Airlines, an entity founded in 1959, said that it would suspend its scheduled services beginning from Thursday, September 1, 2016.
An online statement from the embattled airline management of the airline, said the development was part of the strategic business realignment to reposition the airline and return it to the part of profitability.
This business decision, which Akinkuotu said is a result of the current economic situation in the country, has forced some other airlines to suspend operation or out rightly pull out of Nigeria.
In the case of Aero, the management said the airline had faced grave challenges in the past six months which impacted its business and by extension the scheduled services operations.
These factors, according to the airline are both internal and external environmental factors that have made it difficult for the foremost airline to continue its scheduled services.
Aero said that during the period in review, the airline, which was hitherto revered for its safety, timeliness among other virtues witnessed epileptic operations and services to the external publics that are caused by non-alignment of fundamental issue of the business, which in some cases have been frustrating and embarrassing to all parties including staff, customers and indeed all stakeholders.
As part of its resolve to ensure the airline survived unlike most other carriers that experienced short life span in the country, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) had appointed Mr. Adeniyi Adegbomire SAN as Receiver Manager in February 6, 2016, with the aim of turning the airline around.
The management pointed out that since AMCON’s intervention in Aero Contractors in 2011, it has provided support for the airline to meet working capital requirements and fleet expansion.
The airline stated that these were to ensure the airline remains a going concern providing services to various clients and the general public, adding that despite these efforts the operating environment have prevent the airline from making progress.
“ 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,” the embattled management lamented
Aero stated that with these realities coupled with protracted engagements with all relevant stakeholders, the management of Aero has strenuously reviewed and assessed options and opportunities on ensuring viability, safety and sustainability of operations during the period with a lot of sacrifices.
According to the airline management, “The impact of the external environment has been very harsh on our operational performance, hence management decision to suspend scheduled services operations indefinitely effective September 1, 2016 pending when the external opportunities and a robust sustainable and viable plan is in place for Aero Contractors to recommence its scheduled services. The implication of the suspension of scheduled services operations extends to all staffs directly and indirectly involved in providing services as they are effectively to proceed on indefinite leave of absence during the period of non-services.”
It continued, “We are aware of the impact this will have on our staff and our highly esteemed customers, hence we have initiated moves to ensure that we are able to return back to operations within the shortest possible time, offering reliable, safe and secure operations, which the airline is known for.”
However, when Abelnews visited the airline’s counters on Tuesday and today, the ticket counters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal (MMA2), where Aero operates its flights from were empty.
There were neither passengers buying tickets nor passengers wanting to check- in, a situation that further showed that the airline may be going under very soon.
Prior to these challenges facing the airlines, it was the airline to beat. With 12 aircraft in its fleet few years ago, its safety and on time departure records, the terminal; MMA2 was a beehive of activities because of the airline, as it counters were usually having long queues of both those who want to check-in and those buying tickets.