Wednesday , 5 October 2022
Aero aircraft in Hangar sourced from Jet Photos

Unions hint at ploy to destabilize Aero Contractors, as airline set to reduce workforce 40%

  • Finger clandestine forces out to self-sabotage airline

NATIONAL Union of Air Transport Employees(NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) have laid bare certain accusations with regards happenings in Aero Contractors and more recently Arik Air alleging a ploy to put the former (Aero) out of commission.

This is just as the unions have accused the management of Aero Contractors of planning to reduce 40% of its staff strength without talking of redundancy even as the company is yet to complete redundancy payment of those it asked to stay home since 2016.

In a press conference organised by the General Secretary NUATE Comrade Ocheme ABA and Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole they appealed to the National Assembly, Minister’s of Aviation and Labour & Employment to initiate an intervention that could save both companies ( Aero/Arik)

According to the unions, reports from the airline that Aero aircraft are too old to fly are unjustifiable claims made to compel the airline out of existence as the airline has an MRO subsidiary.

The unions alleged ulterior motives by some hidden forces who they said engineered a phony lease contract with one 5A’s where the airline operated the lease at a total loss with having three seats of a 180-seater aircraft at N35,000 each no matter the category of fare charged.

The unions also alleged a case of self-sabotage questioning the rationale behind seconding one Mr. Charles Johnson Arumeme from Arik to Aero further alleging that as commercial manager he drew up a schedule granting the leased aircraft all Aero Contractors juicy routes affecting the airlines revenue and leading to its inability to pay staff going to three months.

Comrade Aba on Aero said,”the CEO’s assertion that Aero’s planes are too old to fly are completely false, even if aided by internal misinformation. The fact as we know it is that Aero operates the B737 Classic generation, the oldest of which just clocked 30years.

“This class of aircraft are able to operate up to 85,000 cycles, or 100,000 flight hours as approved by the Manufacturer, Boeing. None of these aircraft in Aero’s fleet has operated up to half of the approved figures. We stand to be proved wrong. While it is true that older aircraft do have higher maintenance costs, it must be borne in mind that the Airline owns an approved Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO) with elite Engineers in its fold.

“Till date, there is no report from the MRO, or the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that any aircraft operated by Aero is too old to be maintained, or to fly.

On the lease deal with House of 5A’s the unions said, “… same forces as above engineered the phony lease contract with House of 5A’s by which Aero was given only three seats in a 180-seater Airbus at a fixed price of N35,000 per seat. Whereas the contract was for the purpose of expanding the airline’s network, the leased aircraft somehow supplanted all Aero aircraft on its juicy routes, pushing Aero aircraft to fringe routes with limited passenger intakes.

” For the period that the lease lasted, the entire Aero Contractors was essentially working for House of 5A’s, as the lessor was making more money than the airline itself.

” No wonder the airline ran itself into deep financial crisis and began to owe salaries unprecedentedly. But for the intervention of the unions which threatened to direct workers to withdraw services to the leased aircraft, Aero would still have been under the bondage of the House of 5A’s contract. So, who arranged such a murky lease? And was it a deliberate ploy to bring the Airline down?

The question begging for answers is who are those so eager to see Aero gone? And why? On this score, we note, and question the rationale of seconding Mr. Charles Johnson-Arumeme from Arik Air to Aero as Commercial Manager. Mr. Johnson-Arumeme it was who drew up the schedule that granted Aero’s juicy routes to House of 5A’s. ”

“All these acts are clear cases of self-sabotage. This is as baffling as it is exasperating. Is Mr. Charles Johnson-Arumeme a face of the hidden forces working to kill Aero? Why is he working in Aero, but receiving salary from Arik?

The unions said they were bringing all these oddities to the fore so when they take action they would not be told that it was unexpected and without consultation as already they have had course to write the management of Aero on the issues enumerated without response.

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