NAF To Reconfigure Inherited Aircraft For Operations
Not less than N20 billion (about $50 million) is expected by the Federal Government from the sale of two out of the 10 airplanes in the presidential fleet.
The figure, according to sources, is based on “the current market value” of Falcon 7X and Hawker 4000, as well as their year of entry into service (still recent) and the short distance they have travelled till date.
Aviation experts corroborated the valuation of the aircraft, with some telling the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) that the two aircraft can be conveniently auctioned between the range of $50 milion and $70million in the current market.
In a related development, stakeholders in the aviation industry have urged governments at all levels to start patronising domestic airlines for the growth of the economy and desist from the rather extravagant and unsustainable ownership of jets or airline. They said this against the backdrop of states that still own and others still planning to buy private jets amidst economic recession.
The Chairman, Panel for Sale of Aircraft, Office of the National Security Adviser, last Tuesday put up an advertorial for the auction of two presidential jets – Falcon 7X and Hawker 4000 aircraft.
The Guardian learnt at the weekend that bidders have been pouring in both from home and abroad to check the Falcon 7X at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The Hawker 4000 aircraft is in Zurich, Switzerland.
Our source, who would not want to be mentioned said though the aircraft were for auction, the authorities were looking for a very good bid in the neighbourhood of $50million for the two planes.
At the current market rate, a new Falcon 7X costs $53million and the Hawker 4000 costs $22.9million.
Government bought the Falcon 7X in 2011 at the cost $50 million. It is a three-engine cantilever monoplane with a low-positioned, high swept wing, with a horizontal stabiliser at mid-height and a retractable tricycle landing gear.
The estimated value of all the 10 aircraft in the fleet of the presidency is put at over $450 million, with about N8 billion spent on maintenance and fuel yearly.
Capt. Dung Rwang Pam said given the extra features during initial purchase, usage and maintenance among others, these aircraft should be valued between $50 million and $70 million.
Pam, who is the Chief Pilot at XE Jet, told The Guardian that the aircraft’s types were for the very rich, hence should also be expensive selling them.
He said in other climes, the bid would have been for between 60 and 70 per cent of the initial cost, given the short mileage they have covered since they were bought by the government.
Pam, however, expressed concern that the system may short-change the government in the bidding process.
Managing Director of Aglow Aviation Support Services, Tayo Ojuri, said the white elephant projects – either state-owned jets or airline – are unnecessary and unrealistic amidst seething poverty across the states.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force has said the two aircraft acquired from the presidential fleet would be reconfigured to suit its operational purposes.
The two aircraft were received from the National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongono (rtd), by the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali on behalf of the Air Force at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar while receiving the planes on behalf of NAF, said they would add impetus to the counter- insurgency operation in the North east as the reconfiguration would enhance operational success.