Nigeria’s Aero Contractors suspends scheduled ops

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Aero Contractors (N2, Lagos) has suspended its scheduled passenger flight operations citing what it called a harsh operating environment. The suspension was effective from July 20, it said in a statement the previous day, pledging that services could return “in the next few weeks.”

The decision to suspend scheduled flights had been carefully considered, it added, as most of its aircraft were undergoing maintenance. The airline’s maintenance facility Aero MRO, its Aero Training School, its Aero Helicopters operations, and its charter services are not affected, it assured.

“Due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd. wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger service operations,” the statement said.

“We are working to bring these aircraft back to service in the next few weeks. […] The past few months have been very challenging for the aviation industry and airline operators in particular. The high cost of maintenance, skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, and forex scarcity resulting in high foreign exchange rates are affecting our operations.”

It stressed: “We are working assiduously to return to service as quickly as possible and assure our esteemed customers and stakeholders of our determination that our short absence will not create any major void in the market.”

Aero Contractors denied plans to shut down earlier this year, and in late May local media reported that Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service had sealed the offices of key managers at the embattled carrier after it allegedly failed to transfer NGN350 million naira (USD842,500) in owed taxes.

At the time of the newly announced shutdown, the Independent Nigeria newspaper reported that the airline also owed two groundhandling companies – Skyway Aviation Handling Company and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company – over NGN100 million (USD240,000) as of the end of June 2022.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Aero Contractors currently operates one B737-400, three B737-500s, one DHC-8-Q200, and one DHC-8-Q300. All are leased except the Q200.

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