Copyright Jorge Rafael Rodriguez

By Victor Ernest

Aero Contractors Airline, which is under the management of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), has laid off 60 percent of its workforce.

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Letters of redundancy were issued to the affected employees during the week.

Media consultant to the airline, Simon Tumba, who confirmed the development in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos, said the workers would be paid their pension and gratuity.

Unrealistic personnel

Tumba said the airline had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel costs as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged.

”The current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline,” Simon said.

According to him, Aero Contractors currently has an aircraft-to-employee ratio of 1:500, which analysts believe is perhaps the worse in the history of the global airline industry.

Tumba said government’s intervention in Aero was to save it from total collapse, therefore, all steps to ensure its survival must be put into consideration.

Benefits of lay-off

This decision will immediately reduce the whooping operational cost which has been stifling Aero, enable the management to bring in more aircraft through savings from overheads and pay for C-checks.

He said the laying off of staff would enable the airline to have a more manageable and committed workforce in line with international best practices of 50 to 60 personnel to one aircraft unlike what is obtained in Aero at the moment.

He, however, added that those in Maintenance Repair and Overhaul and other essential staff in critical departments would not be affected.

Tumba said Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Aero, had also assured the workers that they stand a chance of being recalled as soon as the airline increases the number of aircraft in its fleet in the near future.