Aero Contractors (NIG, Lagos) has announced that as part of its restructuring plans, it will lay-off 60% of its workforce or 900 employees.

According to Nigerian media reports, the carrier issued a statement last week confirming the move which, it said, would allow it to adjust its staff compliment to better suit the number of aircraft it currently operates. The carrier estimates that its aircraft-to-employee ratio currently stands at 1:500.

“The current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline," the statement said. “The huge monthly salary associated with a bloated workforce will eventually kill the airline, which is not the intention of the current government."

“It will also enable Aero have a more manageable and committed workforce in line with international best practices of 50 to 60 personnel to one aircraft unlike what obtains in Aero at the moment."

According to the ch-aviation aircraft database, Aero Contractors currently operates a fleet of seven aircraft - one B737-400, two B737-500s (both inactive), one Dash 8-200, one Dash 8-300, and two Dash 8-400s - on regular flights covering Lagos, Abuja (temporarily switched to Kaduna), Port Harcourt Omagwa, and Sokoto.

Management estimates the savings generated through a reduction in headcount will allow the carrier to return the two B737-500s to service following the completion of their respective maintenance checks that have been hamstrung by a lack of adequate funding.

Nigeria's oldest carrier, Aero Contractors was taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in February last year.