An indigenous aviation firm, African Aircraft Leasing Company (AALC), plans to invest about $20 billion in the country to facilitate the leasing of aircraft for local operators. It is also contemplating the establishment of an aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul centre, spares logistics and supply, as well as the provision of other aggregated services solutions.
Its Executive Director, Spring Fountain Infrastructure Limited, Mrs Tokunbo Fagbemi, said the firm would partner the United States- based aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Corporation to roll out the services.
Speaking yesterday at the agreement signing ceremony between Boeing and Spring Fountain Infrastructure in Lagos, she said the aircraft leasing firm, the first in Africa, would create a window for local operators to access 200 Boeing aircraft in the next 20 years.
Indigenous operators, including Air Peace, have described the aircraft leasing window as one of the best things to happen to Nigeria, given the hurdles operators face in their bid to get aircraft from foreign lessors.
Its Chairman, Allen Onyema, said the partnership between Boeing and Nigerian operators will stimulate the growth of aviation, adding that the partnership between Boeing and Spring Fountain will help to build capacity in blocking gaps in local skills in diverse fields, ranging from piloting, aviation engineering, aviation economics and aviation law.
Mrs Fagbemi said with an estimated passenger traffic of 19 million, the figures could increase to over 44 million, which would require more new aeroplanes to meet travelling needs.
She said: “If Nigeria is to have 44 million passenger departures per annum, it will require over 100 aircraft to meet this propensity to travel, Nigeria will need more aircraft,” adding: “To boost its international, including intercontinental flight potential, the airlines have to improve in both the quality and quantity of the aircraft. In addition, the aircraft have to be brand new to be at par with competition within Africa at the least.”