by Doyin Jaiyesimi
Since the ill-fated Dana plane crash, airline operators have not been having the best of days. Air Nigeria in particular has found itself moving from one trouble to the other in quick succession.
General Electric Commercial Services, a renowned United States aircraft leasing company, has announced that it intends to repossess four Boeing 737-300 planes which are currently in Air Nigeria’s fleet. This follows the suspension of their license by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) barely two weeks ago.
In a statement released by Sam Ogbogor, Air Nigeria’s Media Relations Manager, the following explanation:
“Subsequent to the temporary suspension of Air Nigeria’s regional and domestic flight operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, our lessors have been requesting to repossess some of the aircraft in our fleet and we are fully cooperating to return their aircraft.”
To make up for the reduced capacity the repossession will cause, the airline plans to acquire new state-of-the-art aircrafts. Air Nigeria currently has 12 planes in its fleet. With four planes being repossessed, it will have to resume normal flight operations with only 8 planes when the NCAA lifts the suspension order on its domestic and regional operations.
Speaking about the implications the repossession will have on the staff, Kinfe Kahssaye, who is CEO of Air Nigeria, said that a reduction in staff will have to be effected: “Definitely, when there is reduction in the number of planes, there will be reduction in staff number. So, we are in the process but we don’t know the number of people that will be laid off,” he said.
Air Nigeria is currently finalising plans to resume normal flight operations as soon as possible, it says, and promises that flights scheduled on the Lagos-London-Lagos route will not be affected.
We hear you.