New maintenance hangar to save sector $1b capital flight yearly
•Experts seek conducive environment, special FX window
General aviation services in the country recently got a boost with the addition of a new hangar to offer aircraft repairs that have erstwhile been done overseas.
The new facility, owned and operated by Badus Aviation in Lagos, will service private jets in Nigeria and the West African region, saving the country an average of $1billion yearly.
Currently, there are a couple of Aircraft Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) locally. The addition of Badus is a massive boost to local capacity, especially for Cessna, Challenger and Hawker aircraft families in the region.
Aviation experts, however, urged the Federal Government to complement new investments with a conducive operating environment, especially by finding both temporary and permanent solutions to the foreign exchange liquidity crisis.
The Guardian earlier reported that overseas maintenance of local commercial airplanes costs Nigeria at least $2.5 billion in capital flight yearly. The mandatory maintenance programme, ranging from minor to complex checks per session on an aircraft, costs about $2 million, and a cumulative burden on the industry and the economy at large.
Similar ‘giveaway’ in the general aviation sector, where there is an average of 100 airplanes (45 active), ranges between $1b to $5b in maintenance cost yearly.
Accountable Manager of Badus Aviation, Kolade Olawale, said the cumulative estimate of overseas maintenance cost yearly is huge, “yet at least 20 to 30 per cent of the cost could be saved from conducting basic services locally.”
Olawale, an ex-official of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said the low-hanging opportunities motivated the investment in Badus Aviation and its application for certification.
The Guardian learnt that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) recently certificated Badus Aviation as an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), with registration number AMO/5N/BGA.
The AMO is certified to conduct A to F Line Maintenance on Cessna, Challenger and Hawker airplanes.
Olawale noted that more than 50 per cent of aircraft in the AMO’s competency areas are in the country, therefore, a huge cost saving benefit to have the service locally.
“There are also over a hundred (of such aircraft) in West Africa. So, with Badus Aviation’s emergence in the country, 20 to 30 per cent of funds spent by operators to maintain their aircraft outside the country would be saved.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the aviation industry, which we are yet to harness. I discovered overtime that a lot of our big men have aircraft of various types and usually take their aircraft out of Nigeria for maintenance. Yet, we have a lot of indigenous engineers that are capable and well-trained but they don’t have the opportunities of doing the job in Nigeria. In view of this, I decided to invest in the industry so as to create jobs, enable our indigenous engineers to perform and to reduce the rate of moving jets out of Nigeria for maintenance.
“We only need a better working environment and availability of foreign exchange to purchase the spares. Aviation is too important to be ignored by the government. The operators need foreign exchange to operate and I believe the government should pay attention to that critical demand. That way, it is surely going to be a win-win for all of us, especially the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Base Line Maintenance Manager, Don-Felix Alegbeleye, noted that the AMO, besides the Concord Hangar, also has a partnership with the Air Force Hangar in Lagos to conduct maintenance services.
Alegbeleye added that they went through the rigorous five phases of the certification process, lasting 16 months.
“With our aim achieved, we would be able to fulfill the mission, vision and work at being among the best AMOs not only in Nigeria, but in the African region as well.”