The Managing Director , Aero Contractors , Captain Ado Sanusi yesterday said the airline will approach the federal government to grant it Free Trade Zone status to enable it effectively carry out C – check maintenance on airplanes at its facilities . Aero yesterday received certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to handle C-checks on Boeing B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500 at its terminal effective from September 12th.
According to Captain Sanusi, the maintenance facility getting a Free Trade Zone status from the federal government will enable the airline import and export aircraft parts, tools and spares across the world without customs inhibition. And this will also cut off unnecessary bureaucracy in business transactions at the facility. This, according to him, will conform to the new policy of Ease of Doing Business recently introduced by the federal government.
On the Aircraft Maintenance Organisation , AMO, facility, the Aero Managing Director said it will save Nigeria domestic airlines over $ 48 million spent on offshore maintenance of 24 Boeing 737 – classics on their fleet. This will also save Nigeria millions of dollars in scarce foreign exchange.
It would be recalled that Aero had earlier received an AMO certification from the NCAA in 2011 which allowed the airline to carry out third party maintenance for other airlines.
Commenting on the C-Check approval, Sanusi said: “We are proud to receive the certification by NCAA to commence this service for airlines across the West African sub region”.
“This is the first in Nigeria, and West African aviation industry and is a huge boost to our position as a maintenance facility. We are pleased to announce that our hanger has been expanded and all necessary facilities and manpower for the C-check maintenance have been put in place”.
“This is a great relief for Nigerian airlines, as local maintenance of aircraft up to C-check level will bring huge savings in foreign exchange in aircraft overseas maintenance. This will reinforce the strength and quality of our brand. We will continue to offer the most reliable, safe and secure operations, which the airline is renowned for.”
Sanusi said with 24 Boeing 737 classic aircraft on the fleet of some Nigerian operators, the new maintenance facility in Aero contractors will provide succour for operators who spend about $ 1.8 billion every 18 months to ferry their aircraft to different parts of the would for major maintenance.
He also said Aero has signed Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with Europe based engineering firm : AJ Walters ; South African Technik ; Ethiopian Airlines for pooling of expertise and tools to enable them carry out C- check on many aircraft at the facility in Lagos.
He said Aero has invested over N 60 million on the expansion of the hangar to enable it handle comprehensive work on aircraft.