31 August 2016
Leaders of some aviation workers’ union have expressed divergent views on the decision by the management of Aero Contractors to suspend scheduled flight from September 1.
Mr Isaac Balami, President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers applauded the decision by Aero management to suspend its flight operations in the country.
Balami said the decision was necessary so as not to destroy the safety records it had maintained over the years.
He said that it was not reasonable to continue to fly when safety could not be guaranteed, adding that the airline had not carried out proper checks on its aircraft and neither had it been up to date with maintenance because of lack of funds.
According to him, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has been providing lifeline for the airline but has since stopped putting in money.
“Due to the shortage of foreign exchange, about six or seven Aero aircraft have not undergone C-check for sometimes now which is a serious safety issue.
“There is also the issue of high cost of aviation fuel which has also contributed to the non-profitability of operation.
“As a professional in the industry, I believe that safety comes first,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Banjamin Okewu, President, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said the management of Aero did not carry its members along before taking the decision.
Okewu said that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment had recently asked the association to go into negotiation with the airline on the matter.
He said the airline unilaterally took the decision to suspend its operations without consulting the union.
According to him, it is not proper to take such decision without engaging the unionists.
“We have asked our people to come to work tomorrow while we meet to decide on what to do,” he said.
The airline announced the suspension of its scheduled flights on Wednesday, citing economic reasons.