In what is now beginning to become daily news, another company has shut down operations in Nigeria over the current economic woes the country is facing, the latest casualty being Aero Contractors Airlines, who starting from today, have ‘indefinitely suspended all operations’.
Fola Akinkuotu, CEO of the airline, claimed that this was done as ‘part of the strategic business realignment the airline was undergoing in order to re-position itself and return it to the path of profitability.’
According to Punch Newspapers, the airline has now sent all staff, about 1,400 of them, directly or indirectly involved with its operations on indefinite leave. Out these about 467 have already been penciled down for disengagement.
“The implication of the suspension of scheduled services operations extends to all staff members directly and indirectly involved in providing services as they are effectively to proceed on indefinite leave of absence during the period of non-services” a statement by the airline’s management said.
The length of the suspension is, however, unknown as Akintotu said it ‘is pending when the external opportunities and a robust sustainable and viable plan is in place for Aero Contractors to recommence its scheduled services’.
The airline further promised to refund all its customers who had paid in advance for flights. This follows Iberia and at least 4 other airlines that have shut operations this year alone, with fears that other airlines will follow suit.
An aviation analyst, Mr Chris Aligbe said “Airlines are faced with multiple taxation, fuel and forex scarcity or even its high cost. The government is asking the agencies to recover debts. What is going on is like a killer virus and I am afraid other airlines may go the way of Aero”.
Part of this article originally appeared in Punch Newspapers.