United Nigeria Airlines To Establish MRO Facility In Enugu
...Says Fuel Efficiency, Route Suitability Reasons For Choosing Embraer 145
…Commends Late Chief Victor Ikwuemesi For Encouragement, Support
A new entrant into the airline business; United Nigeria Airlines(UNA) has disclosed that it was in the process of securing land from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)to build its own Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) in Enugu, the carrier’s base,
The Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, High Chief Obiora Okonkwo made this known today while briefing Aviation Correspondents, at the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents(LAAC) Press Centre at the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos.
He said that the airline has started talking to FAAN to secure land to build the MRO facility and that talks with foreign technical partners was also at an advanced stage .
On building its own maintenance, the Chairman said it was one of United Nigeria Airlines plans, which it hoped would be delivered in two years but that the airline is already two months behind schedule.
Speaking further, the Chairman pointed out that United Nigeria Airlines was also building an in-house capacity to handle A-Checks 1A-3A .
According to him, “We are in a process of acquiring land space from FAAN to set up our MRO and since our base is in Enugu, we wanted to establish it there in Enugu. We gave ourselves 24 months to start doing our own C-Check in our facility however because we are in the process of getting space we are two months behind schedule.”
On increasing the number of aircraft in the airline’s fleet, High Chief Okonkwo said that efforts to increase the number of airplanes to further boost its domestic routes was to gear, adding that it hoped to secure a wide -body aircraft to support its operations .
The proposed MRO to be sited in Enugu, he stated would not only maintain United Nigeria Airlines aircraft but that it would maintain that of other domestic airlines and also provide services for airlines in the West Africa sub-region.
On why the airline decided to make Embraer 145 its choice of aircraft, he stated that the aircraft was convenient for the routes, fuel efficient,has a load factor but added that it does not have enough space like the wide-body aircraft which can carry a lot of baggage.
He also stated that the airline had a thorough due diligence before it settled for ERJ aircraft.
Based on this space constraint on the part of Embraer 145, the chairman said that the airline that commenced flight operations two months ago , would in the future go for a wide-body airplane.
He added that he was happy with the responses it has received from the market since it commenced flight operations
According to him, “The ERJ 145 is a good fuel efficient aircraft and we are negotiating an additional two Embraers and we would use that to consolidate on our entire routes. As you know after we do that, we go for a bigger aircraft. As you know the Embraer is a good fuel efficient aircraft but we need a bigger aircraft for baggage.”
He continued, “We have gone through due diligence before we earmarked the ERJ as the choice of aircraft and the fuel utilization is a huge advantage. It might surprise you to know that the evening we got our Air Operators Certificate (AOC) we opened our portal and the first flight within 12 hours we have full passenger load.”
He said that though the journey to establishing United Nigeria Airlines has been rough, he however commended the late Chairman of the defunct Sosoliso Airlines,Chief Victor Ikwuemesi, who according to him encouraged and supported him in making the plan feasible.