Tuesday, November 27, 2012

■ NIGERIA: Embraer provisionally agrees to partner Government in Nigerian airline refleeting initiative.

EmbraerFresh from the announcement of its intention to open its first African Authorized Aircraft Service Facility (AASF) in Kenya next year, Embraer, the Brazilian regional aircraft manufacturer, has provisionally agreed to collaborate with the Nigerian Government's efforts to assist domestic Nigerian airlines in acquiring new aircraft "at concessionary rates."

São José dos Campos, Embraer HQ
São José dos Campos, Embraer HQ
The announcement comes after preliminary talks held in  São José dos Campos, the headquarters of Embraer in Brazil, between representatives of the Nigerian Ministry of Aviation led by the Managing Director of FAAN, George Ureisi and Embraer led by the Senior Vice President Operations/Chief Operating Officer, Luis Carlos Affonso.

Ureisi emphasised the need for domestic airlines to have what he called "proper equipment (aircraft)", hence the need for government to intervene directly in the acquisition of aircraft that are effective, efficient and appropriate for the region/routes. He lamented corruption rife in the Nigerian aviation sector which has, in the past, worked to the detriment of previous Government-backed fleet renewal programmes.
"Domestic Carriers use wrong equipment for most of their operations. There is no established record of sustainability for these airlines mainly because of the use of wrong equipment. Intervention funding by the federal government in the past to assist them re-fleet has failed because there was no evidence of the money being ploughed back into the airlines leading to them failing in the long run, " said Ureisi.
''Government wants to change this model entirely by floating a fund for the acquisition of new aircraft for the domestic carriers. In this regard, government is seeking a partnership with Embraer that will lead to a discussion on how these new aircraft will be procured at very competitive, fair, and concessionary rates", Ureisi told his hosts.
In response, Embraer's Luis Carlos Affonso said Embraer considers the African market as a very important one, adding that market indicators show that the number of aircraft in the continent would double in the next few years.
"Nigeria will certainly be leading this expansion in Africa and we will be very delighted to be part of that growth and expansion," he said.
Source [Nigerian Aviation Ministry]

Affonso added that Embraer is more than willing to open production lines to meet the requirements of Nigeria's domestic carriers and expressed optimism that a partnership can be worked out by both parties to advance the cause. 

In September, a contract entitled the "Aldus Aircraft Africa (AAA) Leasing Project" was signed in which the African Development Bank (AfDB), via Ireland's Aldus Aviation, would procure 12 Embraer E170/190 jets for onward placement in six or seven African airlines through an Africa-based leasing facility.

BA Nigeria
On Thursday last week, following a meeting in Abuja between Keith Williams, the Chief Executive Officer of British Airways (BA), and Nigerian Vice President Namadi Sambo, it was announced that British Airways had offered to assist Nigeria’s aviation industry as well as partner with the Federal Government in transforming the sector.
Nigeria has got important trade flows and the airlines need to support those important trade flows either through Nigerian airlines or international airlines”. He, however, noted that “Nigeria needs to build its domestic and regional aviation industry as well”.

No exact time-frame or collaborative framework was given.