After almost four months of suspension of flight operations, the management of Aero Contractors has announced the resumption of scheduled flight operations from tomorrow.
The airline had suspended flight operations on August 31, 2016, following the self-inflicted crisis, which culminated in the quick reduction of its 15 fleets of aircraft to just two in less than a year.
A statement by the media consultant of the airline said that the airline decided to suspend flight operations as a result of a strategic business realignment to reposition it and return it to the part of profitability.
The statement hinted that the airline would re-launch scheduled services to Lagos, Abuja, Warri and Port Harcourt, using its Boeing 737-400/500 and the Dash8-Q400, with the expectation that as more aircraft return to service, more routes would be reopened.
The statement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Aero, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu as saying that: “We are delighted to inform our esteemed customers that our schedule operation is back. Full flights will commence on Thursday, December 22, 2016, with consistent passenger demand despite the suspension of schedule services. This patronage reinforces the strength of our brand and the quality of our service.
“We are aware of the impact the four months suspension had on our staff and our highly esteemed customers. Hence our move to return to operations is to continue to offer the most reliable, safe and secure operations, which the airline is renowned for.”
Akinkuotu urged the airline’s clients with existing tickets before the suspension to contact its Ticket Desks/Call Centre to rebook their tickets free of charge, adding that those who would prefer a refund may send in their refund requests from the 9th of January, 2017.
It would be recalled that the airline had announced the suspension of operation on August 31, 2016, after almost five years of been in murky waters primarily caused by diversion of funds and inflation of aircraft price by the management.
The airline, which was taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), made the crucial decision when its current management led by Capt. Fola Akinkuotu as the Chief Executive Officer could not rescue the airline from going further down.
A source close to the airline had confided in our correspondent that AMCON debt in the troubled airline had grown to N20 billion from the initial N 11 billion in 2011 at the takeover.
The source said that with the initial N14 billion, AMCON had 60 per cent shares in the airline and with the current N20billion, the source said AMCON had taken over the running of the airline entirely and decided to liquidate it.
Besides, the source told our correspondent that the Federal Government through AMCON had engaged the services of a reputable accounting firm to undertake a forensic audit of the airline's accounts in the past five years and eventually liquidate it.