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Hubs and Fleet
Main Bases and Hubs – Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Benin, Calabar Margaret Ekpo International, Lagos Murtala Muhammed International, Malabo International, Port Harcourt International
Fleet – Boeing 737-400, Boeing 737-500, Bombardier Dash 8 Q300
Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, known as Aero Contractors or simply Aero, is a state-controlled Nigerian aviation company based at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria. It operates helicopter services and fixed wing domestic and international scheduled passenger services, air charter and third party aircraft operations, largely in support of Nigeria’s extensive oil and gas industry.
Aero Contractors was formed in 1959 and officially registered in Nigeria in 1960. At that time, it was a wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V. of the Netherlands.
It became a company with initially 40% Nigerian holding in 1973 and subsequently 60% in 1976, anticipating the requirements of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree of 1977, also known as the indigenization decree. In January 2004, Schreiner Airways was bought by CHC Helicopter (CHC), which acquired a 40% holding in Aero, while the 60% majority share remained within the Ibru family.
On 1 July 2010, CHC sold its interests in Aero for the consideration of 1 Nigerian naira, when Aero became wholly owned by the Ibru family.
In March 2013, industrial action grounded flights for 18 days, in a dispute over outsourcing and reduction in staff numbers. The strike, from 13-28 March, grounded Aero’s active fleet of nine aircraft, and was reported to have cost the airline at least N10bn in ticket sales.
After financial intervention, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), an arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria, held 60% of Aero, and in August 2013 it was reported that AMCON had taken over the management of the carrier. Hugh Fraser was named as new CEO.
In August 2013 there was press speculation that the Federal Government will use Aero Contractors as the nucleus of a new national carrier, recapitalizing it through an N200 billion initial public offering (IPO). The new airline was allegedly to be known as ‘Nigerian Eagle’, several years after the liquidation of the defunct flag carrier Nigeria Airways, and that the airline would commence full operations before the end of the year (2013). The factual basis for this report was the repainting of tan Aero plane in the colours of the Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles. The Ministry of Air Transport, however, clarified the repainting of the aircraft was only publicity related to the qualification of the National team for the 2014 World Cup.