- Aero Recalls 69 Workers for Its Maintenance Facility
Foremost Nigerian carrier, Aero Contractors has recalled about 69 workers as the airline gains financial strength on its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, which recently started conducting C-check for Boeing B737 aircraft.
In addition to the recalled workers, the airline is poised to recall additional 30 in the coming weeks, as it adds more aircraft on its fleet for scheduled flight operation.
Many of these workers were placed on redundancy in March 2017 as the airline was in dire financial straits and its aircraft were grounded due to inability to fund their maintenance overseas.
With its Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certification obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Aero has successfully started conducting C-checks, which is a high level maintenance on B737 classic and needed more personnel to do the job.
Aero management disclosed that with the recall of 69 affected staff, 30 more in the coming weeks, 362 workers are still awaiting their return back to the airline, which about a week ago, rolled out the first aircraft it successfully carried out C-check on and which had already gone back to service.
In March 2017 Aero management declared no fewer than 60 per cent of the workers redundant at the peak of its financial crisis after all its aircraft were grounded.
The General Secretary of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Mr. Frances Akinjola, confirmed the development in an interview with journalists.
According to him, the nine recalled personnel were members of ATSSSAN while the 19 engineers and pilots belong to the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the other 41 were members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).
He explained that the current management in Aero Contractors is laying a solid foundation that would return the airline to its former glory, stressing that if the management continued with its laid down plans, very soon, the airline would return bigger and better.
He commended the management of Aero Contractors for fulfilling its promise of recalling some of the workers who were declared redundant in 2017.
He explained that the unions were carried along throughout the period, noting that the resolve of the unions not to agitate for the closure of the airline had paid off with the recall of some of the workers.
He also confirmed that the management had assured the unions that other affected workers would be recalled in batches.
Akinjola also hinted that the current management had paid all the outstanding salaries of 2017, excluding September to December of 2016, but said that the management of the airline has assured the unions that all outstanding salaries, benefits and redundancy packages would be paid in due time.
“We met with the Chief Executive Officer and management of Aero Contractors towards the end of 2017 and we go the intention that they were prepared to start implementing the agreement we reached at the end of the redundancy exercise that we concluded with them in 2016.
“I believe Aero management will continue to call us for discussion and we believe that Aero is coming back stronger as envisaged. Our intention was never to see Aero go down and that was the reason we decided to work together with them despite the fact that some of our members felt we were not doing enough,” he said.
“The only option left for us then was to shut down Aero, which we refused to do. If we had done that, what we are seeing today would not have come to light. I think we have been vindicated with what we are seeing today.
“Aero is a very good brand in Nigeria aviation sector and as we all witnessed on the roll out of the successful C-check, Aero is coming back to where it used to be and we are even going to surpass that. Nigeria is even going to benefit from the MRO facility of the airline as pressure on foreign exchange among operators would reduce.”