Nigeria to buy aircraft for private domestic operators

There are too few aircraft to cater to the over 160 million Nigerians

In a unique move to salvage the ailing airline industry, the Federal Government has said it has concluded plans to purchase airplanes for domestic airline operators.

The Federal Government said it decided on this approach because earlier plans to salvage the industry failed. The government is already negotiating with potential aircraft manufacturers for the airplane deal.

President Goodluck Jonathan had at the last Presidential Media Chat lamented the problems in the domestic airline industry. Many of the local airline companies folded up with some going bankrupt. The existing ones all have some form of financial difficulty or the other. The president said his administration was determined to resolve the challenges faced by the airlines.

The plan

This new plan by the Federal Government to purchase the aircrafts for the companies was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, George Uriesi.

Mr. Uresi said this in Brazil when he visited a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer Brazil, a statement by the spokesperson of the Minister of Aviation, Joseph Obi, said.

Mr. Uriesi said the Nigerian government plans to assist its domestic airlines by helping them acquire new aircrafts to increase their fleet. He said the government plans to engage the services of reputable aircraft manufacturers around the world to achieve the goal.

“In this regard, government is seeking a partnership with Embraer that will lead to a discussion on how these new aircraft will be procured at very competitive, fair, and concessionary rates”, Mr. Uriesi told the Brazilian company officials.

He said the federal government intends to create a fund for the acquisition of the aircrafts for its domestic airlines. He explained that the government took this decision when earlier plans failed to do misappropriation and poor management.

The intervention fund

The Federal Government had earlier put in place an intervention fund where domestic airline operators could access to get funds for their operations such as buying of aircraft.

Mr. Uriesi said the funds were not properly utilised.

“Intervention fund by the federal government in the past to assist them re-fleet has failed because there was no evidence of the money being ploughed back into the airlines leading to them failing in the long run,” he said.

Till now, nobody has been punished for the improper utilisation of the over N86 billion released as airline intervention funds.

The FAAN boss also spoke about use of inappropriate equipment by domestic airlines as a major cause of their problems.

“Domestic Carriers use wrong equipment for most of their operations,” Mr. Uriesi said. “There is no established record of sustainability for these airlines mainly because of the use of wrong equipment.

Brazilian aircraft operator responds

The preliminary talks, which opened last weekend in Brazil, had the Embraer team led by the Senior Vice President, Operations, Luis Affonso.

In his response, Mr. Affonso said that the African market is an important one, and that market indicators show that the number of aircraft in the continent would double in the next few years.

“Nigeria will certainly be leading this expansion in Africa and we will be very delighted to be part of that growth and expansion,” Mr. Affonso said.

He said Embraer manufactures effective and low operating cost aircraft that will suit the Nigerian market, adding that once the needs of the domestic carriers are determined, the company can manufacture equipment that will be custom-made for the region.

Mr. Affonso also said that the company “is more than willing” to open production lines to Nigerian airlines’ requirements, adding that a partnership can be worked out by both parties to advance the cause.

Both parties agreed to continue discussions about the partnership in the coming days


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  • Aminu Nass

    we need basic things not aircraft like water,good road education ofcourse security as well as good education

    • adinze

      The elite must take care of themslves first.We have no good roads,no portable water supply even in the big cities.This is madness. Until the masses rise against these rogues called leader Nigerians will ever remAIN in poverty.

  • igbiki

    This must be in the relms of pipe-dreams, like light for all by the year 2000?

    They can’t sustain the so-called fuel subsidy, maintain road networks or build new refineries?

    They can’t build simple mass housing units, transport networks, rails or phone lines?

    This must be a pipe-dream like building a refinery in Kaduna and using the money for 4 refineries to pipe in crude. Like building Ajeokuta and using the money for 4 Ajeokutas to rail in ore. Like OBJ building 4 power stations and using the money for 40 more power stations to pipe them natural gas.

    I hope they’ve done the feasibility study on where to site the plane manufacturing plant in Nigeria, if this is not a dream. But I know its a dream just like the second Niger bridge or the National ID Card.

    • NAGODI_1

      MARK MY WORDS IGBIKI, THEY WILL DELIVER ON THIS ONE. THINK ABOUT IT HOW WILL THEY TRAVEL IF THIS FAILS? YOU KNOW AS I KNOW ALL OF THE ELITES WE HAVE CANT BUY PRIVATE JETS, ITS NOT PRACTICAL.

      • igbiki

        Misplaced priorities = Arrested Development = Stunted growth = Anarchy = Disintegration of the entity called Nigeria.

        I hope the elite sees the hand writting on the wall. Those planes can’t save them from the coming inferno, even if it could.

  • Medicinechief

    Nigeria has no business having any domestic airlines. Whatever funds are allocated to this delusional program will be embezzled just like all prior attempts to salvage the domestic airline industry.We are a country that could not run Nigerian Airways which went bankrupt. We have no emergency medical services or fire fighting services in the event of any air crash. We cannot service our aircraft, we cannot supply consistent electrical power, we cannot provide pipe borne water, we cannot maintain our roads. We have a government that has now failed to provide security.Virgin Airlines was brought in then driven out. We should re-introduce camels,donkeys and horses and stop the delusion that we are in the 21st century. These are the safest methods for us to travel in our own dear native land.

  • akpos1

    May the planes crash everyday.

    May the forgotten masses rush to the crash sites to pick their kidnapped belongings from the crash victims

    May the birds of the air eat up the parts of those Government officials who will die in the planes — ameeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen

    Verily verily I say unto you, Nigeria is not a country but a continent. Break up NOW!!

    Long live the United States of the SS & SE oil producing countries