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Buhari okays sale of two aircraft in presidential fleet

By Wole Oyebade (Lagos), Karls Tsokar and Terhemba Daka (Abuja)   |   05 October 2016   |   4:33 am


• Fleet costs N2.52b yearly
• Govt to hand over aircraft to Air Force

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sale of two of the 10 aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

In a statement yesterday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, said the advertisements for the sale of the two aircraft, a Falcon 7x executive jet and a Hawker 4000 were duly authorised by the presidency.

The decision, according to Shehu, is in line with the directive of Buhari that aircraft in the presidential air fleet be reduced to cut down on waste.

“When he campaigned to be president, the then All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Muhammadu Buhari promised to look at the presidential air fleet with a view to cutting down on waste.

“His directive to a government committee on this assignment is that he liked to see a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the president, the vice president and other government officials that go on special missions.

“This exercise is by no means complete. I am sure the commander of the presidential air fleet will, any time from now, call you to a ceremony at which he will hand over some other aircraft to the Air Force for their operations,” the statement said.

A source at the presidency yesterday said that work had commenced to trade the Falcon 7X (5N-FGU) and Hawker 4000 (5N-FGX) to anyone interested.

The government had about 10 jets in the Presidential Air Fleet, with the annual maintenance cost of N1.52 billion as at 2014, and another N1billion for aviation fuel.

The presidential fleet is the second largest owned by any airline in the country, coming closely behind Arik Air that has a total of 23 aircraft.

On the presidential fleet are two Falcon 7X jets, two Falcon 900 jets, one Gulfstream 550, one Boeing 737 BBJ (Nigerian Air Force 001 or Eagle One), and Gulfstream IVSP. Others are one Gulfstream V, Cessna Citation 2 aircraft and Hawker Siddley 125-800 jet.

The Falcon 7X, already scheduled for auction, has a 16-passenger capacity, three crew members and a fully automated media centre. The aircraft entered into the service in 2011 and is currently located at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

Hawker 4000, also for sale, has a nine-passenger capacity, three crew members and entered into service in 2012. It is currently located in Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre (Texton Aviation), Zurich in Switzerland.

Interested buyers will inspect the Falcon at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Airport, Abuja, and the Hawker in Switzerland.

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