Aero Contractors (Nigeria)

Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, known as Aero Contractors or simply Aero, is a state-controlled Nigerian airline company based at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.[1][2] Furthermore, 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
IATA ICAO Callsign
HubsMurtala Muhammed Airport
Fleet size7
Parent companyAsset Management Corporation of Nigeria (60%)
HeadquartersMurtala Muhammed Airport
Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
Key peopleAdo Sanusi (CEO)


A Piper PA-23 Aztec six-seat charter aircraft of Aero Contractors in 1970, pictured at Warri Airport after a flight from Lagos Ikeja Airport

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,[3] when Aero became wholly owned by the Ibru family.[4]

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.[5][6]

After financial intervention, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), an arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria, held 60% of Aero,[7] and in August 2013 it was reported that AMCON had taken over the management of the carrier. Hugh Fraser was named as new CEO.[8][9]

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 a 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 an 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.[10]

In 2016, Aero Contractors became the first official airline casualty of Nigeria's worsening economic crisis after it announced it would suspend all scheduled operations with effect from 1 September 2016.[11] However, since December 2016 the airline has gradually returned to full operations, operating 6,717 flights in 2019.[12]

Corporate affairsEdit


Aero was wholly owned by the Ibru family. Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) now owns 60% of the shares, with the remainder owned by Ibru family interests.

Structure and partnershipsEdit

Aero has two divisions:[13]

  • Aero Nigeria – provides scheduled passenger services in Nigeria and western Africa.
  • Rotary Wing – provides helicopter services for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

Aero still has a technical partnership with CHC regarding its rotary wing division.[4]

Aero Contractors Aerospatiale SA-365N Dauphin 2, in 2005
A de Havilland Canada Dash 8 of Aero Contractors in 2006, pictured at Faro Airport, Portugal
An Aero Contractors Boeing 737-300 (now retired)

Business trendsEdit

Aero Contractors was an active airline until 2016, when the recession in Nigeria forced a brief closure of operations.[11] Activity has slowly increased since then, but full formal accounts do not seem to be published; recent available figures, largely from press reports, are shown below (for years ending 31 December):

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of aircraft - fixed wing (at year end) 17 1 6 7
Number of aircraft - helicopter (at year end) 1 5
Notes/sources [14] [14] [14] [15]


Aero serves the following destinations:



Current fleetEdit

The Aero Contractors fleet consists of the following aircraft as of August 2019:[16][15]

Aero Contractors fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-400 1 144
Boeing 737-500 2 116
De Havilland Dash 8-Q200 1 36
De Havilland Dash 8-Q300 1 50
De Havilland Dash 8-Q400 2 2[16] 78
Total 7 2

Historical fleetEdit

The airline fixed wing fleet previously included the following aircraft:[17]


  1. ^ "Offices & Phone Numbers Archived November 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Aero Contractors. Retrieved on 8 December 2011. "Aero Lagos International Airport Office Room 2058 2nd Floor Murtala Mohammed International Airport" and "AeroContractors Lagos Airport Office Private Terminal Domestic Wing Murtala Mohammed Airport Ikeja, Lagos"
  2. ^ "Privacy Policy Archived 2010-09-11 at the Wayback Machine." Aero Contractors. Retrieved on 8 December 2011. "Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, (Private Terminal), Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria."
  3. ^ "Form 10-K". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2010-10-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-08-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Africa News". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Airfinance Home". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  9. ^ "■ NIGERIA: AMCON confirms appointment of new CEO, CFO at Aero". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-04-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b "Aero Contractors suspends operations indefinitely, sends staff on leave". Vanguard Nigeria. August 31, 2016.
  12. ^ "80,875 Flights Operated In Nigeria In 2019 –Report". Sahara Reporters. 10 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2010-10-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b c "Nigeria's Aero Contractors eyes 15-strong fleet". ch-aviation. 19 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 22.
  16. ^ a b "Nigeria's Aero Contractors to acquire two Q400s". 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  17. ^

External linksEdit

  Media related to Aero Contractors at Wikimedia Commons