United Nigeria Airlines (UNA) has disclosed plans of establishing its own Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) facility in Enugu State, adding that it was in the process of securing land from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for the purpose.
Chairman of the new airline, Obiora Okonkwo, who made this known while briefing Aviation Correspondents at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA),Lagos, said that the airline has entered talks with FAAN to secure land to build the MRO facility as well as with its foreign technical partners which, he said, have reached an advanced stage.
On building its own maintenance, the Chairman said it was one of United Nigeria Airlines plans, which it hoped would be delivered in two years but that the airline is already two months behind schedule.
Speaking further, the Chairman pointed out that United Nigeria Airlines was also building an in-house capacity to handle A-Checks 1A-3A .
“We are in a process of acquiring land space from FAAN to set up our MRO and since our base is in Enugu, we wanted to establish it there in Enugu. We gave ourselves 24 months to start doing our own C-Check in our facility however because we are in the process of getting space we are two months behind
The proposed MRO to be sited in Enugu, he stated would not only maintain United Nigeria Airlines aircraft but that it would maintain that of other domestic airlines and also provide services for airlines in the West Africa sub-region.
Based on this space constraint on the part of Embraer 145, the chairman said that the airline that commenced flight operations two months ago , would in the future go for a wide-body airplane.
“The ERJ 145 is a good fuel efficient aircraft and we are negotiating an additional two Embraers and we would use that to consolidate on our entire routes. As you know after we do that, we go for a bigger aircraft. As you know the Embraer is a good fuel efficient aircraft but we need a bigger aircraft for baggage.
“We have gone through due diligence before we earmarked the ERJ as the choice of aircraft and the fuel utilization is a huge advantage. It might surprise you to know that the evening we got our Air Operators Certificate (AOC) we opened our portal and the first flight within 12 hours we have full passenger load.”
On increasing the number of aircraft in the airline’s fleet, Okonkwo said that efforts to increase the number of airplanes to further boost its domestic routes was to gear, adding that it hoped to secure a wide -body aircraft to support its operations .