Aero at 60: Airline survived on AMCON, Workers’ resilience –Sanusi

…CEO lists achievements

…Cecilia Ibru hails Sanusi for Aero’s turnaround story

Posted by Sade Williams

The Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, on Tuesday hailed Aero workers and management for their resilience and insistence that the airline will not sink, just as he praised the Federal government for allowing Assets Management of Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to intervene and initiate revival path for the airline when it was about to go down.

Speaking on the occasion to mark the 60th anniversary of the airline at its headquarters at Lagos airport, he said the new management took series of hard decisions to return Aero to profitability, adding that such was without the cooperation of the staff who stood their ground that the airline will be lifted back.

“From February 2013 to August 2016, Aero faced  hard times due to a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors, Aero was under-performing and almost insolvent, it was navigating from one crisis to another which threatened its very existence. By this time however, Aero had become a national brand offering skilled employment to Nigerian aviation professionals and contributing to deepening the sector. These factors in addition to a pragmatic Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, riding on the commitment of Federal government to support indigenous companies , rescued Aero from total collapse by stepping in through AMCON to reposition Aero on the path of financial solvency.

Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, speaking at the occasion

“It was in this period I was appointed as CEO with the responsibility of recalibrating the technical and operational capacities of Aero. Our individual and collective responsibilities and experience have not been a Tea Party, they have been marked by series of hard choices we both had to taker ranging from surmounting operational challenges t managing employee matters to debt recoveries. The journey is still on-going, we pay tribute to the Receiver Manager and to all Aero staff who have persevered ad given us reasons to plough-on with hard tasks of repositioning Aero”, he said.

Sanusi, who listed some of the current turnaround that has taken place, added that, Aero is being reinvented.

“Like a Phoenix, Aero has risen from its hard times, our individuals and collective sacrifices, resilience and insistence that this airline is lifted back up is paying off and yielding visible results. The airline services have since December 2016, returned to full operations and grown its fixed wing operational aircraft from one to 4, it is our expectation to grow it to 6 by the close of this year. This has improved our domestic operations to 32 daily. From one helicopter in 2017, we now have 5 operational helicopters with capacity to further grow this to 10 by close of the year. We began our repositioning journey growing our domestic operations from 8 to 32 daily flights, from ferrying 8,000 passengers per month to 52,000 per month”, he added.

He noted that the Aircraft Maintenance Organization granted t Aero makes it the first domestic company to obtain a Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as an approved maintenance organization with capacity to conduct C-Checks on B737 classics.

He disclosed that the airline has secured authorization carry out aircraft maintenance in Congo and Ghana, adding that talks are on with Cameroonian and Malian government.

He added that Aero has successfully conducted three C-checks on B737 CL, relying wholly on its indigenous engineers with technical support from Messers AJW/SAA technicians, which is  their partners.

Sanusi said his vision for the company is to regain its prime position of dominance and excellence in the domestic and regional routes, among others.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, delivering his speech at the event

Meanwhile, former managing director of defunct Oceanic Bank who spoke for the legacy owners, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, has hailed the achievements of Sanusi in a short while after becoming the CEO of the company.

Speaking at the ceremony, she said the story from when Sanusi became the MD is a great one and will continue to be an upward recovery for the airline.

According to her, Aero is back strong and better on its feet, adding that the confidence that the people had in Aero has been restored.

“I want to congratulate the MD and staff who had been fantastic . Aero is the backbone of aviation sector in terms of technical know-how and passenger services, we went through a period of difficulty, some workers left but some stayed back, we will take those who left if they wish to come back. A great story has been archived by Capt. Sanusi, the story is a testimonial to the fact that the recovery will be upward trajectory”, she said.

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