29 November 2012

Nigeria: FG Opens Talk With Brazil's Embraer On Aircraft Acquisition

Nigeria has opened discussions with Embraer, Brazil, over supplies of aircraft to Nigeria.

The minister of aviation had in an exclusive interview with our correspondent last month said that the federal government will acquire 30 new aircraft before the year ends for the use of local airlines.

"We are working with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria to acquire 30 new aircraft before the year ends," she said in the interview.

The aircraft she explained is an intervention programme from the federal government that would see local airlines have direct access to new aircraft as they wouldn't be given the cash.

A statement from Joe Obi, the Special Assistant on media to the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah said Embraer has "provisionally agreed to collaborate in order to facilitate government's effort to assist domestic airlines acquire new aircraft."

"This is the outcome of preliminary talks opened last weekend in S.J Dos Campos, the headquarters of Embraer in Brazil on the subject matter by representatives of the Federal Ministry of Aviation led by the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr. George Ureisi and Embraer led by the Senior Vice President Operations/Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Luis Carlos Affonso," the statement said.

The statement quoted Ureisi to have told the "Embraer Executives that the federal government has altered its strategy for the development of the aviation sector with respect to domestic airlines by its intention to assist them increase their fleet with new aircraft from reputable manufacturers around the world."

Ureisi also emphasized the need for the use of proper equipment (aircraft) by domestic operators, hence the need for government to intervene directly in the acquisition of aircraft that are effective, efficient and appropriate for the region/routes.

"Domestic Carriers use wrong equipment for most of their operations. There is no established record of sustainability for these airlines mainly because of the use of wrong equipment. 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.

"Government wants to change this model entirely by floating a fund for the acquisition of new aircraft for the domestic carriers. 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," Ureisi told his hosts.

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