Question: Good day Madam, Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Tolulope Ita, Operations Manager of Aero Contractors. I am a Captain of the Dash 8 Aircraft and also integrated on the Boeing 737.
Question: Give us a brief history of Aero Contractors?
Aero Contractors was founded in 1959, it provides scheduled regional and domestic flight services in addition to Helicopter services to the Oil and Gas industry to the highest international standards of safety. We are the fastest growing passenger carrier in Nigeria that prides itself with punctuality and aviation safety records tailored to providing our customers with affordable fare, quality on board services, good customer relations combined with online and operation efficiency in line with world best aviation services.
Aero Contractors has two divisions namely:
Aero Nigeria – that Provides scheduled fixed wing passenger services to various Nigerian domestic airports and international destinations in the West African sub-region.
Rotary Wing – that provides Helicopter offshore oil and gas aviation services.
Question: How do you sequence your route networks?
There is no route or destination that is far or inaccessible provided there are means of getting there, passengers to fly to the destination, safe according to our standard and it’s profitable to fly that route, Aero Contractors will fly such a route. We have as an airline, the main aim of ensuring affordable travel to the ordinary person and not just the elite of the society. We believe that everybody deserves to fly and that’s why we try to cover many domestic routes in Nigeria and West African routes as possible.
Question: What are the challenges faced by Aero Contractors?
As with most businesses, our major challenge is finance which has limited our capacity to procure more modern Aircrafts to boost our operations. We require more operating aircrafts than we presently have so that we can have a wider West African reach. One of the major plans of our organization is to acquire more aircrafts and expand our coverage of the West African region.
Question: Which routes are you currently serving at the regional level?
Presently, we serve only Accra, though we were in Doula, Dakar, Abidjan, Malabo, Monrovia, Libreville, Banjul and Sao Tome but had to pull out due to shortage of aircrafts. Some of our aircrafts had maintenance challenges and had to be rested, but we do hope to return normal services very soon to those cities. We need to re-structure, re-capitalise and be fully prepared because we cannot afford to disappoint our clients. So as an organization, we felt it was better to pull out from those routes and remain only on the Accra route until so a time we have the full capacity to resume efficient services in those routes.
Question: How many aircrafts do you presently have in your fleet?
Aero operates a combined fleet of around 20 helicopters and 15 fixed wing aircraft ranging from 50 seat Dash-8 , to 144 seat Boeing 737-400/500 and employing about 1,300 personnel.
Question: How has Aero Contractor remained relevant in the industry over these years?
One of the major things that have kept Aero relevant is our zeal and passion for excellence in the services we render. We do not jeopardise safety at all. In as much as there is commercial pressure, our pilots and engineers are made to understand that safety comes first. Nobody will put you under pressure to operate an aircraft when you as a pilot or engineer know that it is not safe. We have a safety record and we keep striving for excellence and improvement as we make air travel accessible to all. This has keep us relevant our the years.
In as much as there is commercial pressure, our pilots and engineers are made to understand that safety comes first. Nobody will put you under pressure to operate an aircraft when you as a pilot or engineer know that it is not safe
We have received many accolades for scheduled operations, consistently offering the most reliable services and best value fares whilst introducing new initiatives into the local market to empower more people to fly more often.
Question: Are you aware of the power of good Customer Service, how has Aero leveraged on this?
Truly we believe that good customer service is important, if a customer is pleased with your services, you will likely get a 100% referral and if a customer is displeased, you stand the chance of losing greatly. Owing to the importance of Customers Service, Aero had in the last quarter of 2014, sent all the Front Desk, Reservations and Cabin crew on a Customer Service Training for improved service delivery.
We do not take our customers’ satisfaction lightly and we are poised to delight them all the time with good services.
Question: What are your organisations plan to boost the tourism industry in Nigeria?
In the area of building tourism in Nigeria, the company in collaboration with the Cross Rivers State Government is looking towards the middle of the year to start scheduled weekend flights to Obudu cattle ranch in Cross river state to help promote and attract more tourist to one of the best tourist destinations in the country. Most tourists have complained about the deplorable road network to the ranch. We plan to operate weekend flights from Lagos and Abuja to the ranch for family getaway and company retreats etc. We are also planning to do the same to the other tourism destinations in the country in the future so that we can strengthen our tourism industry.
Question: Do you have any word for those coming to Africa and Africans?.
Africa is a pleasant and exotic destination for tourists. Personally, I do not wish to live outside the continent. It is a beautiful place to be. Truly one can visit the developed countries and apply lessons learnt over there to improve our own continent. To me, Africa is home and natural, and its nature is still preserved. There are beautiful places to visit in Africa.
We need to celebrate ourselves as Africans if we want others to celebrate us