Capt. Mahmood Abdullahi, Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, on Sunday in Lagos commended the Federal Government on plans to concession four international airports in the country.
Abdullahi gave the commendation on Sunday in Lagos in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN recalls that the Federal Government announced plans to concession four airports for a period of 20-30 years in June, 2021.
The airports are the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano, and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers state.
According to Abdullahi, such a move will fast-tract standardisation of the said international airports.
He, however, appealed to the government to ensure that the staff of the international airports were not deprived of the rightful benefits.
“Actually, concession is good. But, just to do it right, I don’t think people will be talking about concession. To me, there is so much burden on the federal government. FG cannot do all these things.
“If we are talking about the roads, they have been taken care of by the federal government. I think it is time for federal government to start to concession these things.
“One thing I say is doing it right. Do it in a way that the workers there are well taken care of. Ones the workers there have been taken care of properly, definitely people we go for the concession.
“Because if we concession, I believe things will go very much better. Like I always say. Which terminal is the best domestic terminals in the country today? You will find out that is MM2.
“The MM2 terminal is really good. Everything there is working. So, why? because it is private. I don’t think anything is wrong for government to concession these airports,“ he said.
The chief executive officer maintained that the federal government ought to do more in awareness to educate the citizens of the gains of concession.
According to him, concessioning of four international airport terminals is a good thing that will happen to aviation industry in this country.
Aero Contractors’ boss reiterated that the impact of COVID-19 was much on Nigeria as the main source of income for the nation is crude oil.
According to him, COVID-19 came by surprise to the whole world and really affected most, especially the tourist industry.
“ They are the one that are affected the most. When the global pandemic came in, the first things that happened was that they flagged up restriction.
“You know about aviation, most business of aviation is on our passengers travelling. But unfortunately during the pandemic, there was so much restriction on travelling.
“So, basically all the airlines were grounded except for the medical operators. All our craft were grounded for months without flying. We tried to get back gradually,“ he said.
He further praised the federal government on its response to the airlines clamoring for financial assistance by deciding to give palliative to aviation sector as relief from impact of pandemic.
According to him, government has realised that aviation is the heartbeat of the economy and has decided to improve the sector.
“The government response, on several occasion, we have approached the government and there were some waivers that were given.
“Even the FAAN MD in December granted waivers to airlines like for six months window for payment which is due to FAAN.
“Also, the federal government has taken the decision to give waiver on tasks. So whatever you import like square parts, engines, part components; and all these ones, federal government had given waivers.
“All theseare designed to give airlines soft landing to survive. The Federal government really responded to an extent, to the needs of the airlines,“ he said.
He affirmed that local airlines intensified efforts to train and retrain their staff, pointing out that training is fundamental in aviation sector.
According to him, training in aviation is continuous with engineers, cabin crew, pilot, the ground staff, including other workers.
“As long as the industry is regulated, there are trainings that are mandatory. You have to do them. You can choose to do the training, which likely improves your staff performance.
“But the mandatory training is what you have to do at intervals,“ he said.
He said that Aero Contractors sustained its integrity by promoting security awareness by establishing security culture.
He further said that the airline developed objectives that would adequately measure security performance standards and promote reporting system that encouraged the reporting of in advent human errors.
According to him, security is everybody’s responsibility, a collective responsibility.
“So, in aviation, you can see a unique industry because whatever that happens in any aviation, no matter how small, is bigger than global issue.
“So, all the staff of the company have been trained on security training. Security training does not mean that you train to become absent aviation security. But, just at least of some identification.
“Just to keep an eye. If you see something, say something. It is a part of security. Security awareness is all about talking to our passengers, talking to staff and talking to everybody around,“ he added.
MRO TO BOOST NATIONAL ECONOMY
The Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd., says it is ready to boost national economy through its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities.
Mr James Ominyi, Aero Base Maintenance Manager made this known in telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that the company would soon increase its aircraft hangers for more local and international aircraft maintenance.
According to him, such move will increase national income as the international airlines pay the company in foreign currency, while allowing local airlines to pay in naira.
“Foreign airline pay us in foreign currency. That is a huge contribution to Nigerian economy.
”Local careers no longer look for foreign currency to perform their maintenance. We will take naira and then, foreign airlines pay us in foreign currency.
“For example, if you are going to charge a one C-Check for 150,000 dollars, by the time the aircraft goes out, you over fly other countries to take you to Europe and then probably 50,000 dollars has gone. That is not part of the C-Check.
“By the time they start the C-Check, it may be up to 800,000 dollars because of the other findings. All these ones are going to be saved because you will pay us in naira.
“We may charge you the same rate of 150,000 dollars of the C-Check but you pay us in naira equivalent. That way, it makes it easier, for the operators locally. For the foreign operators, obviously they pay us in USD, “ he said.
Ominyi said that Aero Contractors’ MRO carried out aircraft maintenance up to D-check on B-737 Classics.
He noted that the first operator that visited or patronised the facility in 2017 was Swift Air, a Spanish operator using a Ghanaian registered aircraft.
He said that the Passion Air of Ghana then facilitated the facility`s acquisition of Ghana CAA AMO approval in 2018.
The manager said that Gomair of Democratic Republic of Congo also facilitated the facility`s acquisition of DRC CAA AMO approval in 2019.
He said that the facility had got the AMO approval certificate of the Mongolian CAA this years (2021).
He said that virtually all the operators in Nigeria had patronised the facility with various projects from C checks to complex tasks like landing gear replacement, engine replacement and embodiment of various airworthiness directives.
“Basically, when the MRO was set up in 2017, it was like a necessity, the mother of invention. At that time, most of our aircraft were grounded. No dollars to take our aircraft out for maintenance.
“ It was set up when we realised that we have the manpower, we have the experience, we have the equipment. So, why do we need to take out our aircraft for maintenance.
“ So, we decided to seek for approval from NCAA and we performed the first C- Check on Boeing 737 classic here in our facility. We run the aircraft out January 2018.
“Since then, we suddenly realised that many airline operators within Nigeria and West Africa sub- region started patronising us, “ he said.
The manager said that the some countries’ airline operators nearby prefer coming to Nigeria for their aircraft maintenance instead of going to Ethiopia for five to six hours.