Aero Contractors’ aircraft maintenance facility in Lagos has helped airlines in Nigeria to save millions of dollars as the facilities offer some of the most complex repairs like the C-check. Nigeria spends a whopping N6.3 billion annually to have her crew go for recurrent pilots’ training overseas,
New Telegraph has learnt.
Although Aero does not provide maintenance to all the aircraft in the country because of lack of capacity, the airline maintenance facility has helped to keep a fraction of that money in the country as the millions of dollars the airlines would have spent flying their aircraft outside the country for maintenance are saved.
With the lockdown last year due to the outbreak of coronavirus, which led to closure of borders, restrictions of movement by many countries, maintenance facilities across the world were also affected, thus home based maintenance facilities for many airlines became an option for Nigeria airlines to continue operations and ensure safety.
Sourcing forex was also an issue as those who decided to fly out their airplanes could not access foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Speaking on the MRO facility, the Managing Director, Aero Contractors, Captain Abdullahi Mahmood, said patronage by domestic carriers was very encouraging, saying using Aero MRO for their maintenance without paying in hard currencies saved the airlines huge amount of money.
He said with the requisite manpower, space and the needed spares, work had been going on smoothly, adding that five Ethiopians have been engaged with their Nigerian counterparts to do the job.
“If we have certified engineers that will sign the NG, we don’t need to bring them, but we don’t have them, none of Aero engineers, not even one, is a certified NG engineers and we want to get the certification to do our AMO, under our AMO we need those engineers,” he said.
The Aero boss said the engagement of the Ethiopians was intended to assist their Nigerian engineers study them with a view to acquiring the knowledge of attaining some level of being able to maintain new generation aircraft.
He revealed that engineers in Aero were qualified, but not qualified yet to sign off an NG aircraft, adding that with these expatriates, the engineers would be able to acquire the knowledge, number of hours and take charge.
“The only thing our engineers need is the logging. If they bring an NG to do maintenance, the Ethiopians will sign off the aircraft.
Our Nigerians are working with them, so, they are logging the hours, they need certain number of hours to work on a particular aircraft before they sign off.
That is the regulation, but because they have not worked on any NG aircraft, they don’t have those logging. It is not that they are not qualified to do it, but they don’t have the required number of time,” he noted.
Apart from helping the airlines, Mahmood said without the MRO at this crucial time of the pandemic, the cost of running its own airline would have been unbearable.
“The AMO here is not saving only Aero, but saving other airlines to make sure that they save and they will not go and start looking for forex. That is what is saving Aero today, because we do our maintenance here. Without this maintenance today,
I am not sure if Aero will survive. “We are doing C-check, even up to D-check, here, that is the highest level on an aircraft, the only thing we don’t do here is the engines, because we don’t have engine shops.
The only thing is that for engines, we have to take them out for maintenance and landing gear overhauling, we don’t do that. Other than that, everything on the aircraft, we can strip the aircraft naked and we will fix it back,” he added.