The management of Aero Contractors, one of the two indigenous airlines under the receivership of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been accused of mismanagement of the airline’s meagre resources.
The airline was also accused of non-payment of redundant allowance of some of its staff laid off since 2017, while the current staff lacked Condition of Service (CoS).
Open Letter to Keyamo
Comrade. Olayinka Abioye, the immediate past General Secretary, of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) in an open letter to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, dated September 26, 2023, and obtained by Nairametrics, alleged that the activities of the management in connivance with AMCON in recent time lacked transparency and wanted the government to open the books of the troubled carrier.
According to Abioye, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the airline purportedly mismanaged the sum of N60 million on one overseas trip at the expense of a company, which he said was managing to survive.
Abioye also accused the management of the airline of selling the only remaining known property of the airline at the Ikeja Government Reserved Area (G.R.A) under suspicious circumstances and in contravention of protocols and laid down rules.
He claimed that a standing committee set up for the purpose of Aero Contractor’s property was not aware of the sales of the airline’s guest house, while there was no record in the coffers of the airline concerning the sales of the property.
- The letter read in part: “As you may be aware, Aero operates only three machines; one Boeing, one Dash-8 and one Puma Helicopter. All these machines are generating more than enough revenue for Aero, which enables her to pay staff salaries and other sundry expenditures.
- “We must however praise the tenacity of the CEO who encouraged and empowered the functionality of the best MRO yet in Nigeria at the moment as it is on record that the AERO MRO services virtually all B737s of domestic airline operators.
- “Be that as it may, it has been discovered that enough transparency is not being exhibited and or displayed by the management as the CEO and his CFO mismanaged a whooping sum of N60 million on a single overseas trip at the expense of a company managing to survive.
- “Nigerians may also ask Aero management what have they done with the humongous money made from this year’s hajj operations and what has the management done with such monies as there are hundreds of former members of Aero who were disgracefully declared redundant some years ago, yet, they have not been paid their redundant benefits till date while management shares the booty.”
AMCON’s share sales
He also alleged that after the failed attempt by AMCON to sell its shares in the troubled carrier, the corporation had eventually sold its shares to one of the major shareholders in the ground handling companies in the aviation industry without following due process.
Abioye appealed to Keyamo to carry out an extensive investigation into the running of Aero Contractors in recent times.
AMCON Intervention In Aero
AMCON had taken over the running of Aero Contractors in 2013 from the Ibru Family to save the airline from collapse.
The airline, which was established in 1959 and officially registered in Nigeria in 1960, at a time, was wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V. of the Netherlands.
But, since the intervention of AMCON in the running of the airline in 2013 and its total takeover in 2016, the fortune of the airline like Arik Air has continued to nosedive.
At the time of the takeover of the airline in 2013, Aero Contractors had no fewer than 10 fixed and rotary wings aircraft, but today, it is left with just two fixed wind and one rotary wing aircraft.
Within the same period, the airline had suspended operations on at least two occasions with the last being July 2022 and resumed operations on December 5, 2022, after five months of closure.