Aero Contractors Limited has announced the completion of a C-check on its Boeing 737 aircraft from its recently approved Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, followed by a test flight.
The airline reveal that the maintenance check on one of the planes in its fleet was the first time a C-check would be carried out on a wide bodied aircraft since the liquidation of Nigeria Airways in 2004.
The airline noted that engineers commenced work on the aircraft less than a month ago and successfully carried out the check.
According to airline operators, C-checks are often done outside the country and this has been a major problem due to the high cost of at least $1m per aircraft.
The Managing Director, Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said the airline’s engineers worked on the aircraft while its pilots successfully carried out the verification flight, adding that the management was satisfied with the outcome of the check.
This he noted was a major milestone not just for the airline, but for the entire aviation industry as well as the country.
“With this achievement, the era of flying out aircraft for maintenance by Nigerian airlines is over. The entire country will benefit a lot from the outcome,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority had in the last quarter of 2017 approved the airline’s hangar to carry our C-checks on Boeing 737 aircraft, the commonly used plane for commercial flight operations in the country.
“After the check, we put the aircraft up for verification flight and everyone was very happy about the result. This is the first time this would be happening in the country. We are more satisfied with the result than what we get outside the country when we take out our airplanes for checks. Our engineers are happy and we are equally satisfied.” He added.
Checks are periodic inspections that have to be done on all commercial/civil aircraft after a certain amount of time or usage; military aircraft normally follow specific maintenance programmes which may or may not be similar to those of commercial/civil operators.
Airlines and Airworthiness authorities casually refer to the detailed inspections as “checks”, commonly one of the following: A check, B check, C check, or D check. A and B checks are lighter checks, while C and D are considered heavier checks. Aircraft operators may perform some work at their own facilities but often checks, and especially the heavier checks, take place at the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.
Aero Contractors was established in 1959 and officially registered in Nigeria in 1960. At that time, it was a wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V. of the Netherlands.
It became a company with initially 40% Nigerian holding in 1973 and subsequently 60% in 1976, anticipating the requirements of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree of 1977, also known as the indigenization decree. In January 2004, Schreiner Airways was bought by CHC Helicopter (CHC), which acquired a 40% holding in Aero, while the 60% majority share remained within the Ibru family. On 1 July 2010, CHC later sold its interests in Aero.
In March 2013, industrial action grounded flights for 18 days, in a dispute over outsourcing and reduction in staff numbers. The strike, from 13–28 March, grounded Aero’s active fleet of nine aircraft, and was reported to have cost the airline at least N10bn in ticket sales.
After financial intervention, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), held 60% of Aero, and in August 2013 it was reported that AMCON had taken over the management of the carrier.