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N30bn debt may collapse Aerocontractors – Aviation unions

By Kenneth Ehigiator

LAGOS — Unions in the aviation industry, yesterday, raised an alarm that Aerocontractors was on its way to collapse, following the noose tightened on it by Oceanic Bank Plc over the N30 billion debt owed the bank.

The unions — National Union of Air Traffic Employees, NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE — said the airline’s helicopter operations in the Niger Delta had been halted as a result of the noose.

General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Gideon Ogbuji, who spoke on behalf of other unions, told newsmen at a briefing in Lagos, that the airline management had been meeting its debt obligations to the bank, wondering why the bank was bent on shutting down the airline.

According to him, no fewer than five chartered flights operated by the airline had been cancelled by the airline in the past week due to its inability to operate the flights because of its problems with Oceanic Bank.

He said the airline had to also pay $36,000 fine to each of its charter customers due to its inability to airlift them, courtesy of its problem with the bank.

Ogbuji said: “The fragile nature of the Nigerian economy and by extension the global meltdown, has affected the airline industry the world over.

As aviation professionals in the Nigerian aviation industry, we feel compelled to draw the attention of Nigerian people, the new aviation minister, finance minister, governor of Central Bank to urgently convene a roundtable to address the issues.”


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