The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) said Monday that some forces are plotting to kill Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline and Arik Air.
The two airlines are in receivership being managed by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
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There has been a controversy in Aero Contractors with some reports even alleging the liquidation of the airline, the report dismissed by the receiver-manager.
The unions at a press conference Monday said there is a plan to reduce 40% of Aero staff when the airline is yet to complete redundancy payment of those it asked to stay home from 2016.
General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba and Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole appealed to the National Assembly, Ministers of Aviation and Labour & Employment to initiate an intervention that could save both companies (Aero/Arik)
The unions alleged ulterior motives by some hidden forces who they said engineered a phony lease contract with one 5A’s where the airline operated the lease at a total loss with having three seats of a 180-seater aircraft at N35,000 each no matter the category of fare charged.
Speaking on Aero, the NUATE scribe said, “The CEO’s assertion that Aero’s planes are too old to fly are completely false, even if aided by internal misinformation. The fact as we know it is that Aero operates the B737 Classic generation, the oldest of which just clocked 30years.
“This class of aircraft is able to operate up to 85,000 cycles, or 100,000 flight hours as approved by the Manufacturer, Boeing. None of these aircraft in Aero’s fleet has operated up to half of the approved figures. We stand to be proved wrong. While it is true that older aircraft do have higher maintenance costs, it must be borne in mind that the Airline owns an approved Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO) with elite Engineers in its fold.
“Till date, there is no report from the MRO, or the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that any aircraft operated by Aero is too old to be maintained, or to fly.
“We equally make a passionate appeal to AMCON not to allow any form of weariness stand in the way of efforts to achieve the plan of turning around the fortunes of the two Airlines. We wish to share with AMCON our unshaking belief that the task can, and must, be done. It requires, though, that all hands must be on deck and working harmoniously. To this effort we pledge our cooperation and collaboration.”
Aero Contractors had issued a statement earlier denying plan to close operations as the airline is proactively taking necessary measures and strategy to continue operation and ensure a great travel experience to our highly esteemed customers.
“Aero Contractors has one of the best Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MROs) in West and Central Africa and is Nigeria’s oldest aviation company with capacity to offer both scheduled airline services and maintenance for third party, licensed in over three countries,” it said.