Following the country’s plunge into recession and after months of nonprofitable operations, Nigeria’s second largest airline, Aero Contractors on Wednesday, August 31, announced the suspension of its scheduled services with effect from today, September 1.
According to Daily Trust, the Chief Executive Officer of Aero, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who announced the development said it was part of the strategic business realignment to reposition the airline and return it to profitability.
It was further reported that 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). But 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.
Prior to its outright suspension of scheduled services in Nigeria with effect from today, Aero airline had also recently suspended its operation to Accra, Ghana, a decision it attributed to unavailability of aircraft. It has asked the affected staff to proceed on leave of absence indefinitely.
Speaking to newsmen at an interview, the 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. According to him, 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 public 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.”