…airline signs agreements with SA technik, A.J Walters, Ethiopian technik on MRO
… core investor to be unveiled soon
By Sade Williams
Captain Ado Sanusi, Managing director, Aero contractors, has said that the company plans to develop its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) base to a level that it would be able to carry out line maintenance for airlines operating in Nigeria.
This is just as he disclosed that South African Technik, A.J Walters of the United Kingdom and Ethiopian Technik have partnered the organisation in a bid to assist in developing the MRO.
Speaking to reporters at the Aero headquarters at Lagos airport on Thursday, Sanusi said the maintenance arm has been separated from the airline company since the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), approved C-Checks on B737 classics, adding that the MRO is now generating revenue for the company.
“We have a wide range of partners, we have partnered South African Technik on quality inspection and specialised manpower, they supervise our C-Checks, we have A.J Walters of UK, they have their office here in Aero, they will be supplying spares , we have also entered into a broader agreement with Ethiopian technik, they are very good, they will support the C-Checks, we are also in talks with others because we discovered that there is no formidable MRO in West and Central Africa so we intend to develop the MRO to a level that will be able to provide line maintenance for airlines operating in Nigeria, that is why we have separated the airline from MRO”, he said.
Sanusi disclosed that so many organisations have indicated interests and brought aircraft for maintenance since the airline secured the approval, adding that from all indications, ‘the MRO base would be fully occupied for the entire next year’.
“As soon as we secure the approval, three companies came for maintenance and as we speak, we are in the process of getting approval from Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to start carrying out maintenance on aircraft from Ghana, we are also getting responses from other international organisations, I just received a mail from another company indicating intention to do business with us so the C-Checks is where the airline makes money now, we carry out maintenance on wheel and brake for majority of the airlines in Nigeria, since there is no formidable MRO in this part of Africa, we feel that if we develop this very well, it will be of great benefit to the whole country. We want to develop it to the extent that we will be selling spares to companies”, he added.
He disclosed that a core investor would soon be settled for who is likely to take more shares in Aero, adding that the company started with 19 bidders which was pruned down to six and will eventually be pruned to three (The preferred bidder, the legacy owner and AMCON).
“Let me correct the impression that AMCON is not ready to turn things around, AMCON is very committed to making sure that the company does not go into extinction, they are spearheading the restructuring and bringing core investor, the investor will rejuvenate the company.
“We have looked at a long term plan for Aero, say between 5-25 years, the core investor has been informed that there is need for fleet renewal, everything is on the table for the core investor”, Sanusi added.
He explained that the current management has managed to stabilise the company, adding that out of the N2.2 billion meant for redundancy package, the company has paid N300 million and reduced the 7 months debt to 4 months.
He said the balance of N1.9 billion would soon be paid as soon as more aircraft are back in operations.
“We have the MRO now as a successful business and we have called back 120 workers from the 60 percent of the workforce on redundancy, we have put them on contract but as the demand for aircraft maintenance increases, they will become permanent staff and we are likely to call more or everybody back depending on the fleet size, we have managed to stabilise the company for the past 8 months and we are still trying to do so.
“By the end of next month, we will have the aircraft on C-check back in the country and we will start paying the money until we liquidate the debt, we are not irresponsible to discharging our duties and by the middle of next year or so, we will have four Boeing aircraft and two Dash-8 flying”.