Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline, says it will suspend passenger flights from Wednesday, July 20.
The airline, in a statement on Monday, said the suspension is temporary but did not indicate when it will resume operations.
In May, Aero had denied plans to shut down operations after reports alleged that the airline was cash-strapped and might soon go out of business.
Aero said the decision to suspend passenger flights was taken due to the fact that most of its aircraft are currently undergoing maintenance, resulting in an inability to offer a seamless and efficient service to customers.
“We are working to bring these aircraft back to service in the next few weeks, so we can continue to offer our passengers the safe, efficient, and reliable services that Aero Contractors is known for, which is the hallmark of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd,” the statement reads in part.
“This does not in any way affect the maintenance activities of the Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) otherwise known as AeroMRO, the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) also known as Aero Training School, the Helicopter and Charter Services operations.”
The airline also blamed the “impact of the challenging operating environment” on its daily operations.
It lamented that the past few months have been very challenging for the aviation industry.
It listed the issues hampering airline operations in Nigeria to include high cost of maintenance, skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, and foreign exchange (FX) scarcity resulting in high FX rates.
Aero apologised to its customers for the inconvenience and promised to return to service as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, we are working assiduously to return to service as quickly as possible, and do assure our esteemed customers and stakeholders of our determination, that our short absence will not create any major void in the market, as we are coordinating with our business partners to ensure minimum discomfort to ticket holders,” the statement adds.
“As members of Spring Alliance (a commercial alliance with member airlines providing mutual support in the area of operations), we are liaising with our partner airlines to minimise the impact on our esteemed customers.
“Our customer service team will be working to help affected esteemed customers reach their destinations.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to our esteemed customers and promise to return to service as soon as possible.
“We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding at this time.”