by Isi Esene
As Arik Air and Dana Airlines struggle to get back in the air due to separate reasons, it appears Aero Contractors, the 51-year-old airline might also suffer the same fate as the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) have reportedly taken over the airline due to bad debt incurred by the management of the airline.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced earlier on Friday that all loans from banks to Aero Contractors Airline should be halted because of its $200m loan.
“We can confirm that Aero’s debt has been taken over by AMCON. Currently Aero is going through a restructuring exercise under AMCON, pending final approval by AMCON board which is expected very soon,” said Omoke Enyi, Aero Contractors chief financial officer.
He said the airline is allowed “limited access to funds by the banks through AMCON for its working capital.”
According to Aero Contractors, the airline has a “combined fleet of around 20 helicopters and 15 fixed wing aircraft ranging from 50 seat Dash 8 to 144 seat Boeing 737-400/500, employing about 1,300 personnel”.
Aero is wholly owned by the Ibru family and is said to be managed by Cecilia Ibru, former chief executive of Oceanic Bank Plc.
These are not good times for Nigeria’s aviation industry as airlines struggle to remain in the air.