Private Jets: The Chosen Fleet Of Nigeria’s Super Rich
This is because traveling in Nigeria’s commercial airlines, even in business class, can be problematic, with frequent delays and re-routing causing inconvenience for everyone, including those for whom time is money.
This, with added exclusivity, has made the option of bespoke air travel a popular one for Nigeria’s super-rich.
Private jets have become a must- have fleet for Nigeria’s celebrities and it’s so competitive that everybody is going for the best for whatever money can buy to outdo each other in the social scene. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number of private jets in Nigeria because the majority are under foreign registries.
Aircraft in Nigeria and most of Africa are believed to be owned by individuals who are businessmen and women and this is in contrast to North America and Europe where the account is usually under corporate ownership.
Most of the jet owners prefer to avoid the spotlight, especially when it comes to discussing their wealth, although within the social circles, it is common knowledge to hear who owns what.
The long-range Bombardier Global Express XRS worth about $50million, is preferred by those at the top of the rich list, including Africa’s wealthiest businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; oil baroness, Chief Folorunsho Alakija and telecoms magnate, Otunba Mike Adenuga, who also owns both short and long-range business craft.
Other common models ranging from about $57million to $39 million are the Gulfstream G550, Bombardier Challenger 605, and Dassault Falcon 900, with owners ranging from politicians to clergymen.
However, it’s difficult to ignore the tens of thousands of Nigerians who cannot afford commercial air travel, not to mention owning aircraft.
Nigeria is achieving steady economic growth but the general perception is that few are benefiting from this boom More than 500 people have estimated assets above $50million.
For those who are not quite able to afford their own planes, Nigeria’s chartered flights business is also booming, attracting international companies.
Cultural peculiarities also make it to the runway, with huge entourages of friends and aides swarming around Nigeria’s larger- than-life VIPs .
However, in 2013, when the demand for the powerful machine reached optimum level, the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NEMA), introduced a luxury tax of about $3000 for every departure of a private jet.
The jet owners responded by saying it was unfair and the Senate later ordered a suspension of the levy, a sign of the political influence of Nigeria’s wealthy businessmen and women.