A huge relief is underway for airlines in Nigeria and some parts of Africa as the country’s oldest carrier, Aero Contractors has been granted permission to commence C-Checks maintenance on some model of Boeing, the aircraft type that dominate the continent’s skies.
The series includes Boeing 737-300, B737-400 and the B737-500, airline operators has close to 30 of such aircraft in their fleet in Nigeria excluding the West Africa sub-region.
The certification is a major feat for the airline and the first by a Nigerian flag carrier haven received an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certificate from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA), the same agency that granted the latest certification.
C-Checks are performed approximately every 20–24 months or a specific amount of actual flight hours (FH) or as defined by the manufacturer. The maintenance check is much more extensive than a B check, requiring a large majority of the aircraft’s components to be inspected.
The check puts the aircraft out of service, and the aircraft must not leave the maintenance site until it is completed. It also requires more space than A and B checks.
It is, therefore, usually carried out in a hangar at a maintenance base. The time needed to complete such a check is at least 1–2 weeks and the effort involved can require up to 6,000 man-hours.
Airlines in Nigeria hitherto spent approximately over $1 million to carry out such checks on an aircraft excluding cost of transportation outside the country.
Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi told journalists in Lagos that ” we are proud to receive the certification by NCAA to commence this service for airlines across the West Africa sub-region”
Ado said the feat is a huge boost to the airline’s position as a maintenance facility and said it hanger has been expanded and all necessary facilities and manpower for the C-Checks maintenance has been put in place.
Industry analysts also said it is a great relief for Nigerian airlines, as maintenance of aircraft up to C-Check level in the country will bring huge saving in foreign exchange in overseas maintenance.
Also, Ado, an ex pilot appealed to the federal government to urgently grant the airline the free zone status to enable it import tools and spare parts into the country without hindrance from the Custom authority and other bottlenecks.