Nigerian airline, Aero Contractors of Nigeria Limited has explained it had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel cost as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged, hence its decision to embark on staff reduction.
The exercise involved 60 per cent of its entire workforce issued with letters of redundancy, with a promise of payment of gratuity and pension.
A statement from the airline said the issuance of notification of redundancy is a business decision that will ensure Aero’s survival.
It said the current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline.
“The huge monthly salary associated with a bloated workforce will eventually kill the airline, which is not the intention of the current government,” the statement added.
Aero Contractors currently has aircraft-to-employee ratio of 1:500, which analysts believe is perhaps the worse in the history of global airline industry.
According to the statement, government’s intervention in Aero was to save it from total collapse therefore, all steps such as this (issuance of redundancy letters) to ensure its survival must be put into consideration to save the airline.
This decision, the statement added, will immediately reduce the whooping operational cost, which has been stifling Aero; enable the management bring in more aircraft through savings from overheads, pay for C-checks as well as enable Aero have a more manageable and committed workforce in line with international best practices of 50 to 60 personnel to one aircraft unlike what obtains in Aero at the moment.
The statement however added that those in Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and other essential staff in critical departments will not be affected by the notification just as the Chief Executive Officer of Aero, Capt. Ado Sanusi, and his management team have also ensured that the affected workers will be able to access their full gratuity as well as a part of their pension just to immediately cushion the effect of the development. They also stand a chance of being recalled as soon as Aero increases the number of aircraft in its fleet in the near future.