FG giving waivers for airlines’ new planes – Onyema - PUNCH
BY Okechukwu Nnodim
The Federal Government has been pushing airline operators to purchase and deploy brand new aircraft to have better impact on the sector and the Nigerian economy, the Chairman, Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema, said on Thursday.
Onyema, who doubles as the Vice President of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, said this at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as Air Peace received its third Embraer 195-E2 aircraft.
He said the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had been challenging operators to bring brand new planes due to the economic benefits of such aircraft and the ability to cut operational cost when using them.
Onyema said, “He (Sirika) didn’t want Nigeria to be a dumping ground for old planes; not that the old planes are not safe, but at the same time, he has to protect the economy of the nation.
“The amount of money spent on maintaining old planes is huge, as whatever you make you give it to the MROs (maintenance, repair and overhaul firms).”
He added, “At that time many of us did not understand it. However, later we started to understand why the government through the minister is pushing that we should purchase brand new planes.”
On what the government was doing to support airlines in the purchase of brand new aircraft, Onyema said it waived customs duty after the requests of airlines, as led by the aviation minister.
“Today we have customs duty waiver; we have VAT removed from airlines’ tickets and importation of aircraft. If not so, I would have spent over N1bn on the import of this aircraft we are receiving today,” the Air Peace boss stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, said the Embraer 195-E2 aircraft received by Air Peace was not only brand new but was the right sized aircraft for the Nigerian market.
He said the government had been calling for the deployment of brand new planes because the operating cost of such planes were lower, their safety was good and their deployment would enable operators break even faster.
For the Embraer 195-E2 aircraft, Nuhu described it as environmentally friendly with less noise and less pollution. He enjoined other operators to consider acquiring similar planes.