Aero Contractors Airlines yesterday suspended its scheduled service operations, citing inability to cope with the current harsh economy.
Closure of the 53-year-old airline, the second largest in the country, took effect when its Lagos headquarters was vacated around 2pm.
The airline, however, said the shutdown was temporary, adding it would return to business in the next three to six months.
The Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the closure of scheduled flight services was part of strategic business realignment, to reposition the airline and return it to profitability.
Akinkuotu said the decision, a result of the current economic situation in the country, had forced some other airlines to suspend operations or pull out of Nigeria outright.
Many passengers had bought tickets to fly Abuja and Sokoto routes. Two hours later, they were seen submitting boarding passes or evidence of payment for a refund at Aero Contractors’ counter at Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2), Lagos.
The “bad news,” as it was described in the industry yesterday, came just two weeks after FirstNation Airline quietly shut down operations.
It would be recalled that Aero had in the last couple of weeks struggled to run scheduled flight services on Abuja route, with only two 737 aircraft remaining on its fleet. And where the two developed technical faults, as was the case, last week, all scheduled flights for the day were cancelled.
At least two of its aircraft had gone for C-check maintenance but could not be retrieved due to paucity of funds.
Meanwhile, about six aircraft have been grounded because they were already due for various categories of routine maintenance.
Source: News Express.