Thursday, April 18, 2024

Nigeria to Sell 3 Jets from Presidential Air Fleet

In a bid to tighten fiscal expenditures, the Tinubu Administration has disclosed plans to sell off three jets from the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).

According to The Nation, the PAF, which currently comprises six jets and four helicopters, is set to undergo downsizing measures, potentially reducing the fleet to seven aircraft pending approval.

Previous attempts to sell off two aircraft during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration faced hurdles, with potential buyers initially offering $24 million for a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet. However, the reduced bid of $11 million was rejected by the government at the time.

As part of efforts to generate revenue and alleviate maintenance costs, some aircraft were considered for charter services to interested governors, though the specifics of this arrangement remain unclear.

FG Orders Private Jets Removal From Abuja Airport

Among the aircraft in the PAF are Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcon 7X, HS 4000, two Agusta 139, and two Agusta 101. Notably, the BBJ 737 serves as the Nigerian Air Force One, exclusively catering to the President’s travel needs.

While the fate of the BBJ 737 remains uncertain, the administration has earmarked Falcon and Embraer jets for potential sale.

Maintenance costs for the PAF have escalated over the years, with an estimated budget of N80 billion allocated across various fiscal years. Concerns over rising expenditures prompted President Tinubu’s directive to trim the fleet, with a focus on shedding aircraft incurring substantial maintenance expenses.

A confidential source revealed that recent maintenance fees may have exceeded $5 million, underscoring the financial strain posed by the upkeep of the fleet. Outstanding commitments related to maintenance expenses remain undisclosed.

Explaining the necessity of PAF usage by government officials, particularly for long-distance travel within Africa, sources emphasized the fleet’s strategic importance in facilitating efficient connectivity across the continent. Management of the fleet falls under the purview of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

In a parallel move aimed at curbing expenditures, President Tinubu has imposed a three-month ban on publicly-funded foreign trips by Federal Government officials, effective immediately.

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