Buhari to donate some to Air Force
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Job Osazuwa and Luis Iba
The Federal Government is selling two aircraft in the Presidential Fleet. It has directed that payments be made in United States dollars. The development may not be unconnected with moves by the Presidency to cut down on expenses.
Aircraft to be disposed off are Falcon 7x and Hawker 4000, “belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” according to an advertisement in a national newspaper yesterday. Interested buyers were asked to inspect the Falcon at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Airport, Abuja, and the Hawker at Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre, Zurich, Switzerland.
Features of Falcon 7X (5N-FGU) which cost $53.8 million (2015) are: Entry into service, 2011; number of owner, one; time since new, 2776:47 hours; cycle since new, 2363; engines completed HIS, May 2016; engine time to overhaul, 4529 hours; engine/APU programme, nill; and ready for sale immediately.
Its performance data are: range, 5850NM; take off sea level, 5, 555 feet; landing distance, 2, 070 feet; certified ceiling, 51, 000 feet; cruise speed, 488kts and easy 11 Avionics/FAANS 1A compliant/statcom. While the interior highlights passenger capacity, 16; crew seating capacity, 3; forward and aft lavatories; four large screens monitors, six small adjustable seat mounted monitors and fully automated media centre.
Hawker 4000 (5N-FGX): RC 066’s features are: Entry into service, 2012; number of owner, one; time since new, 1178:15 hours; cycles since new, 1146; engines time to overhaul, 4821 hours; engine programme, nil. The performance chart reveals: Range, 3190NM; take off at sea level, 5, 068 feet; landing distance, 2, 475 feet; certified ceiling, 45, 000 feet and cruise speed at 482kts. While the interior features are: Passenger capacity, 9; crew seating capacity, 3 (detachable jump seat); aft lavatory, two monitors, power outlet in cabin and cockpit and fully automated media centre.
“All bids must be submitted within four weeks from the date of publication (October 4, 2016),” as noted in the advertisement.
Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) vested with the power to sell the aircraft, said all bids should be quoted in US dollars.
Government’s directive for payments to be made in foreign currency might not be unconnected with the fact that the naira had been losing value lately.
Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had earlier said the aircraft in the fleet would soon be reduced.
“There is a government committee already in place, working to reduce the number of aircraft in the Presidential fleet,” he wrote on Twitter.
Shehu also said some of the other aircraft would be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force soon. He said the sale was in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that aircraft in the Presidential air fleet be reduced to cut down on waste.
Meanwhile, the sales could fetch about $30 million depending on how good the state of the air worthiness of the aircraft are. Checks by Daily Sun in Wikepedia revealed that while the original unit cost of the Falcon 7X jet goes for about $53 million, the Hawker 400 unit cost would be about $23 million. Industry sources, however, said asking prices for fairly-used Hawker 4000 aircraft are in $4 million to $6.5 million range, 20 – 30% of the original retail price.
The Falcon jet could be sold for between $20 and $25 million. At an aviation stakeholders’ forum held in Lagos last week, some speakers had demanded that the Presidency sell some of the bigger jets to domestic airline operators as a way to assist them re-fleet. It was, however, not clear if the local airline industry will be willing to buy the two jets offered for sale given the fewer passengers they could carry which might not be sufficient for commercial flight operations.