By Alexis Akwagyiram
LAGOS, March 17 Nigerian airline Aero has made
about 60 percent of its workforce redundant in a desperate
effort to stay afloat, it said on Friday.
The more than 400 staff made redundant are mainly support
staff such as baggage handlers and security workers, Chief
Executive Ado Sanusi said.
"It is very clear that if we did not make the decision the
business would die," said Sanusi, adding that the wage bill for
an airline with just two functioning planes was not sustainable.
It comes weeks after the country's largest airline, Arik
Air, went into receivership due to its inability to pay workers.
Airlines in Nigeria, which is in its first recession for 25
years because of a slump in oil revenues, have experienced fuel
shortages in recent months because the supply of dollars needed
to pay for oil products has dried up.
The fuel shortages have caused an increase in cancellations
and delays to flights across Africa's most populous nation.
Five years ago, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria
(AMCON), a state-backed "bad bank" established in 2009, took on
more than 132 billion naira ($663 million) of debts from 12
Nigerian airlines including Aero.
(Additional reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu in Onitsha;
Editing by Robin Pomeroy)