Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest aviation company is getting three additional aircraft into service following major repairs by the Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) arm of the airline.
The airline also on Tuesday, recommenced scheduled services to the Margret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar from its base at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos.
This is as Sen. Bassey Otu, the Governor of Cross River State has promised to increase the state’s aircraft fleet from the present two to five in the coming months.
Speaking at the relaunch of of the route, Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Aero Contractors said that for the first time, the joint venture between the airline and the Cross River government has brought all the two Boeing 737 aircraft owned by the state to service.
Sanusi described the feat as a major boost to the airline’s fleet and a demonstration to the quality and professional competence of its Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities.
He said: “We are proud of them for putting additional aircraft to service, while working on the fifth aircraft to be back in service by the end of next month.
“We are equally pleased with the full support of the Cross River State government especially, His Excellency the Governor, Bassey Otu on this joint venture, which we believe will continue to grow and enhance the governor’s vision of growing the economy through tourism among others.
“With our increased fleet, we are delighted to be in the position to fully support the upcoming Calabar Carnival themed: ‘Season of Sweetness,’ this festive season, and we promise our customers competitive fares.”
Sanusi also said that the airline would operate three daily frequencies from Lagos to Calabar. While the aircraft would also be deployed to Abuja airport and back to Calabar before returning to Lagos.
Besides, he explained that the airline intended to increase the frequencies as demands grow, assuring that the airline would always offer quality services to its customers throughout the festive season.
Also speaking at the event, Sen. Bassey Otu, the Cross River State Governor, lauded the management of Aero Contractors for maintaining the state’s aircraft in its fleet and for relaunching scheduled services to the airport.
According to the governor, the state’s aircraft would increase to five very soon with the addition of three more aircraft.
He explained that the State Government was determined to position the state as a tourism destination and would attract air passengers into it.
Otu further commended Sen. Ben Ayade, the immediate past Governor of the state for initiating the idea of an airline and putting the state on the aviation map.
He also pointed out that plans were on to make the airport a sunset aerodrome as the airfield lightings are being installed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
He added: “Calabar has been an international airport, and we want to raise it to that standard. Flights will very soon be landing at this airport till 9pm. The government is installing the light, and they are bringing the airport into total functionality so that it will be an international airport truly.
“Before now, it was a bit difficult coming into the state because of the state of the roads, but as from today henceforth, we can fly in here at any time.
“By the time the Calabar Carnival is on, the traffic to this airport will surge. We want to make aviation a very big business for Cross River State.”
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-300 with the registration number: 5N- BYR, which departed Lagos at 10:30am, landed at Margaret Ekpo International Airport at 11: 25am with fanfare.
The governor and his executive cabinet members and other dignitaries from the state were on ground to receive the aircraft to the airport.