Federal Government yesterday vowed that no airline would fold up under its watch, assuring that the takeover of Arik and Aero Contractors was a deliberate decision to save the airline industry.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated this on Friday during the formal roll out ceremony of Aero Contractors Airline’s 5N-BLG Aircraft that successfully completed C-check maintenance exercise at Aero MRO facility in Lagos.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had approved the Maintenance Organization making Aero, the oldest indigenous carrier, the only airline in the West and Central Africa conducting C-check on B737 classics aircraft.
Sirika, who was represented by the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Engr. Akin Olateru said the feat by Aero was a fall-out of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s promise to bring about positive change in the Nigerian polity.
“Under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, we vowed not to allow airlines fail and go under”, he declared, adding that the takeover of Aero and Arik by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has paid off.
Noting that Boeing 737 classics are the most common aircraft used by Nigerian carriers, he said the country has been experiencing capital flights of not less than 90m dollars any time the aircraft go for C-check.
“Prior to now and in the lifespan of any administration, Nigeria experienced huge capital flight of nothing less than $1.8m and $3m per Boeing aircraft that left our shores for C-checks and there are more than 30 of such aircrafts operating, so you do the arithmetric. All that is about to end with this initiative birthed by Aero Contractors”, he said.
Managing Director and CEO of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru represented by the Executive Director, Operations, Mr. Aminu Ismail said the completion of the C-check justifies AMCON’s resolve to develop and stabilize “our challenged aviation sector”.
He reiterated that the intervention in Aero and other airlines was to the organization “a national assignment geared towards both our resolution objective and the need to help in rebuilding the Nigerian economy”.
“As a Recovery Agency of the Federal Government, it was not for us an option to stand aloof and watch while airlines such as Aero with its rich history and others be grounded as a result of challenges in management and governance, plus accumulated debt obligations”, he said.
Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muktar Usman represented by the Director of Airworthiness Standard, Engr. Ita Awak said Aero Maintenance Organization was taken through rigorous process before securing the approval in order to ensure that the enterprise does not compromise safety in any manner. The DG however recommended the maintenance organization to airlines.
Managing Director of the airline, Capt. Ado Sanusi said the certification has added to the moral, technical and economic boost of the airline while thanking members of staff especially the technical team whom he said has proven to be professionals of rare breed.