Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline, is scaling up regulatory compliance to commence flight operations by the end of September 2022.
This is even as the airline took delivery of another aircraft, a Q-400 Bombardier, the second from five expected to beef up its fleet.
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By this delivery, Aero has six serviceable aircraft to use for its scheduled flight operations.
Umza Aviation Services invested the five aircraft in Aero, worth about $50 million (over N21.425bn at CBN fate), on an agreed profit-sharing basis.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the aircraft touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Capt Abdullahi Mahmood, the MD/CEO of Aero Contractors said with the additional aircraft “Nigerians should expect efficient, prompt and reliable service.”
The MD who was represented by the Head of Security, Adah Daniel said, “Aero is looking at the end of the month” to commence flight operations.
“We wrote to the NCAA that we want to start operations, but we have to finish with the ongoing audit process. So, once we are through with the NCAA audit process and we are cleared, we will commence immediately. It could be earlier and it could be early next month but it depends on the audit.
“We are confident that the audit will end this month because we have already started. So, they will be coming in to do the final paperwork and once that is done, we are good to go,” he explained.
On the choice of aircraft, the MD said “the aircraft is very dependable; it has fuel efficiency and its capacity is 75 seater.
“So with this, we hope to meet aviation demand in terms of passengers and also cost because we have noticed that cost is a concern for a lot of travelling passengers.
“So, we believe when you operate a fuel-efficient aircraft, you will be able to fly passengers with a reasonable fare, so that is what we are looking at for the passengers,” he noted.
The chairman, Umza Aviation Services, Honourable Mohammed Abubakar, said he has invested almost $50 million in the purchase of the five aircraft.
He said the aircraft were not on lease but an outright purchase.
Also commenting on the deal, an aviation expert and former MD, Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said the choice of aircraft can give Aero to run at a reduced cost and this might impact ticket costs.
“If the aircraft you are using does not consume too much of the Jet A1, then you can drive down the cost which is why the choice of Dash 8Q400 is a good one.
“Any aircraft that does not consume too much fuel and will deliver the same product to the passengers will be a welcome development to investors because you can afford to sell your ticket a bit less because you are consuming less fuel,” he explained.