From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, has approved €1,506,285.7, an equivalent of N707,962,864.83 for the deployment of investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau AIB) in the aviation sector.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika made the disclosure to State House Correspondents after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
According to Sirika, the tool will permit the accident investigation to be able to decode goings on in flights.
The minister also said that the council approved the memo to allow Nigeria to lease aircraft to start operations.
Sirika said Nigeria Air will start with three airlines.
“I presented two memoranda on the national carrier to allow Nigeria to lease aircraft to start operations. That has been approved by the council. And the second is the deployment of investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau.
“That tool will permit the Accident Investigation Bureau to be able to decode goings on in flights, and God forbid, should there be a need to investigate the accident or incident, the tool will help them to be able to do so.
“That procurement is for 1,506,285.7 euros which is equivalent to N707,962,864.83. This will be including taxes at a central bank exchange rate of 472 in Euro with the delivery period of 11 months and is awarded to Messers Integrated Contract Services Limited for AIB,” he added.
On the number of aircraft Nigeria Air will kick off with, he explained: “We have said in our outline business case, which was earlier approved, that we are starting with three aircrafts for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeings because every airline that will grow big uses the two.
“We will start with domestic flights and then we grow to become international and then we move to become regional and intercontinental.”
On the government intends to pull through the hiccups facing the aviation sector, Sirika said: “There are challenges currently in our aviation industry but it is a global phenomenon and it will not last forever because aviation is a very resilient sector. Certainly we will overcome these problems.
“Of particular reference, yesterday (Tuesday) all of you were present when we discussed with the Airline operators of Nigeria (AON) as to the challenges we’re facing in terms of Jet A1 availability and of course pricing, which is 40% of the operations of the airline.
“We’re finding solutions to those problems and the cost of fuel also is being attended to and so on and so forth. So yes, we will get there. And it’s doable and by God’s grace.”
On engaging Aero Contractor, Arik, and the rest of them, the minister said: “Aero contractors at the moment they have on their own chosen to shut down to rejig the airline internally.
“We are open to any person. By the way, the structure of outline business case as you’re aware there is 51 percent Nigeria. So that 51 percent maybe taken by Nigerians, be it Arik, Azman, be it anybody or even yourself. So you’re open to come and join. We don’t expect to exclude anybody that will come. Of course anybody coming to join has to go through full due diligence to avoid all encumbrances.”