….produces 700,000 face masks weekly
In the face of the global pandemic called COVID-19, stakeholders in the aviation industry are not deterred to make the industry safe again as they work towards its recovery.
With the industry being the worse hit and getting set to recommence air travel again in Nigeria, a stakeholder in the maintenance of aircraft and interior design, called 7- Stars Global Hangar in Lagos has started the production of face masks for the industry as the PPE will become mandatory for passengers traveling by air in the country.
With a target of 500 sewing machines, 500 tailors, the leading aircraft maintenance facility in West and Central Africa, has already built up production capacity for 700,000 face masks per week.
Although, 7-Stars Hangar has been into upholstery for aircraft seats and aircraft seat covers, the company diversified into the production of face masks and hand sanitizers to its business, following the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic early this year.
Chief Executive Officer, 7-Stars Global Hangar, Engr. Isaac Balami who disclosed the business model recently, said, already over 700 tailors have applied for their job,and that the management is taking them through the interview process for selection.
After the interview process, Engr. Balami who is also an aircraft engineer, said 7-Stars Hangar was looking at how they can take in 1,000 tailors for a 24-hour shift and give them jobs, aside personnel that are doing branding, packaging, logistics and everything.
As a company involved in aircraft maintenance, Engr. Balami disclosed that, with their upholstery department for aircraft seat and aircraft seat covers, most of these machines were already on ground before now.
According to him, 7-Stars Hangar was at the verge of sealing a business deal in terms of aircraft seats with Arik Air when the pandemic broke out.
On the issue of local content in its personnel and manufacturing processes, Balami said “normally even when they Americans came in, this hangar with our partners Santos Aviation, we are the first in the entire West and Central Africa to get this approved to start doing aircraft seats and seats covers which is huge for an entire region of this size.”
“Before now I have always been someone who believe in local content, when I was pilot President, at least in that 8 years am sure on paper verifiably over 380 expatriates were sent out of this country and Nigerians took over their jobs and there is no incident or accident due to the incompetence of Nigerians which is actually very good, we just need that enabling environment and that opportunity”.
On training of its staff, the CEO pointed out that 7-Stars Hangar is going to be covering the entire West African and Central region and that they are going to be converting about 50-100 of those local tailors since they need to be trained as aircraft seat is actually different.
On quality standard, the engineer added that “with that aviation mindset, we imbibe that aviation standard which is a global recommended practice and what we are actually bringing here which is the most important thing.”
” Off course our business is not actually nose masks after Coronavirus what happens? We still have what to do with those machines, we will not be idle, those machines actually have a lot of work to do, we can even chose even to making uniforms for our pilots in the Industry with some of those machines, so for us it is not something we are going to to lose, a lot of companies like NAHCO, SAHCO, Arik etc they all make polo, T-shirts that they wear weekends, we can produce it for them very, very cheap, off course cheaper than what they get now”.
“For us, what is more important above anything is that we are telling Nigerians that any nose mask that is coming out of this factory is 100% safe because you can imagine buying in the traffic or somewhere else you are not even sure of the quality control process that produced it, you can mess a whole family up. In this case, that is not the case”, Balami said.
Already, Balami said his company was in talks with Dana Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, United Nigeria Airlines. Others, according to him, are NAHCO, NAMA, NCAA and FAAN.”
“We have already produced for them, it is not a matter of, we want to; we are already doing business with the industry and they are very, very happy”, he emphasised. .
Despite the huge business potentials in the face mask business which 7-Stars Hangar is already benefiting, the CEO however, stated that the company is praying fervently for the covid-19 pandemic to ease off as soon as possible.