With the current functionality of its aircraft maintenance facility in the country, Aero Contractor Limited, one of the nation’s commercial airlines, may save the country up to N9.2 billion yearly from foreign exchange costs associated with maintaining airlines overseas.

For instance, with the handling the repairs of its two Boeing 737- 500 locally, the company had saved over $800,000 (N228 million).

The airline’s Managing Director, Capt. Ado Sanusi, who was quoted as giving these hints during an interactive chat with an online medium (Woleshadare.net), said that the in-house maintenance of the aircraft saved the airline over 60 per cent of the cost of carrying out the maintenance outside the country.

This is even as he hinted that the airline had extended its technical capacity to other airlines.

According to him, the facilities have the potential of reducing local carriers’ maintenance cost of at least N9.2 billion. It is estimated that the airlines spend up to N36 billion yearly on servicing their aircraft overseas.

On efforts being made to fully rescucitate the airline, the industry expert confirmed that the management had managed to bring back two aircraft even as he projected that before the end of May, two others would have been restored to operational status.

“We had a meeting today with Jeraco to finalise the last two. We have three aircraft; two are operational, one is under C-check. One is coming in from France in the next four weeks. “I believe that towards May, we shall have four aeroplanes fully functional. We are going to bring them back into the country.

“We will condition them and ferry them back into the country. Two of our aircraft are operational, and the other one will be operational in the next three weeks, and one is coming in from France in the next three, four weeks. We should have four aircraft operational, three Boeing and one Q3- 400,” Sanusi added.

Industry analysts believe that the reduction by about N305 million per aircraft on maintenance cost if the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) is carried out locally will substantially reduce the operational cost of an operator and also ease the pressure usually associated with sourcing foreign exchange for overseas repairs.

A C-check is a detailed inspection of most of its parts and lasts three to eight weeks. Industry regulators require that commercial planes undergo the procedure every 18 months.

The lack of a functional MRO facility in the country is estimated to be costing operators between N14.3 billion and N28.6 billion yearly on overseas repairs.