Thursday, May 23, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Akwa Ibom State approaches Bombardier, Lufthansa Technik over possibility of MRO facility, new regional airline.

Nigeria flagThe local government of Nigeria's Akwa Ibom State has approached various international firms among them Canadian aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier Aerospace and Lufthansa Technik, over the possibility of them partnering the government in its project to build and operate an MRO Hangar facility at Uyo's new Ibom International Airport, currently under construction. A new regional carrier, Ibom Airlines, is also planned.

Uyo's new Ibom International Airport Terminal
Uyo's new Ibom International Airport Terminal (3TI Architecture)
State governor Godswill Akpabio was in Canada recently to seek financial and technical assistance from Bombardier in completing the hangar before year end, while Lufthansa Technik has been approached apropos the hangar's management. Bombardier was also asked to help assist in the setting up of a planned new carrier, Ibom Airlines, to be based out of Uyo International Airport.

He said cooperation from technical and financial partners would enable the state to complete the hangar centre before the end of the year, describing lack of a major maintenance facility as a problem for aviation development in the country.

"The MRO is a huge facility that can take two wide body aircraft, Boeing 747s or four Boeing 737s with all the dormitories, the spacing and the equipment and all the configurations that will make for effective aircraft maintenance. It is going to be the biggest MRO facility in West and Central Africa. We don’t have proper MRO facility in these regions.

Some people have come to look at it, like Lufthansa Technik and some groups are beginning to talk to the state government, but of course, this opportunity was also thrown open to Bombardier because Bombardier has over 40 aircraft in the country right now, so the facility is a major hangar for aircraft maintenance. So we need collaboration. This is a big facility waiting for Nigerians to take advantage of.
Source [The Nation]

The Commissioner for Information, Aniekan Umanah said plans to establish Ibom Airlines were in line with government policy of developing the region as a major economic hub in the Gulf of Guinea.

Ideally, Ibom Airlines would service the sub-region using Bombardier CRJs using Uyo as a hub for flights to Equatorial Guinea, Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola.

Boeing, Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik have all been approached by Arik Air (WB) regarding their participation in Arik's planned MRO facility, set to be built at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport.