Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited has assured no fewer than 600 employees disengaged by the airline in March of the payment of their N1.9 billion entitlements.
The Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Capt. Ado Sanusi, gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.Sanusi explained that the decision to declare the affected workers, which constituted nearly 60 per cent of Aero’s workforce redundant, was taken in the airline’s best interest.
The Aero boss said the airline had about 1,300 employees and one or two aircraft in operation when he assumed office in February.“We are very happy and glad to say we have increased our aircraft to three and had gotten approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to carry out C-Check on series of Boeing 737 aircraft.
“It took us almost eight months to do that and we have the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility functioning very well.
“We have been able to recall 120 of the workers on contract basis but as the demand for the facility continues to increase, we hope to engage them permanently.
“We have also paid about N300 million out of the N2.2 billion to the disengaged workers and have reduced the backlog of staff salaries from seven to four months.
“So, as we get more funds, especially from the MRO facility, we hope to pay all those not recalled or has resigned their entitlements,” he said.
Sanusi commended the unions in the sector for their maturity in handling the situation, stressing that they had shown commitment to the survival of the airline.
He also lauded the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) for the support being given to the airline, especially with regards to attracting core investors.
Sanusi said: “We have looked at a long-term plan for Aero and AMCON has agreed that there must be fleet renewal between five to 25 years.
“The aircraft that we have now will have to be retired within three to five years. We have started talking to investors. We started with 19 interested parties and we are now down to six investors.
According to him, the MRO facility has been very beneficial to airlines operating in Nigeria and West Africa particularly in the reduction of maintenance cost hitherto done outside the continent.
He added that Aero was partnering with South Africa Technik, AJ Walters of the United Kingdom and Ethiopian Maintenance Organisation to ensure that the services of the facility were in line with international standards