In a bid to reposition the aviation sector for efficiency, the Federal Government acquired a calibration aircraft, King Air 350i to help airlines in the country.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who supervised the delivery of the aircraft said it is expected to secure the Nigerian Airspace and make it safer for air freight.
What you should know: A calibration aircraft is generally used to inspect equipment like ILS, VOR or any other communication or navigational instrument to ensure that they work accurately and precisely.
Duration: The Chief Executive Officer of Cross Wings International Limited, Air Commodore Hambali Tukur (Rtd), said the process took nine months from when they applied, to the completion and installation of the equipment which was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas, United States.
Explaining why the aircraft was purchased, Sirika noted that the aircraft was secured to assist the re-calibration of landing aids in the country.
‘‘What informed the procurement of this aircraft was that when we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, certainly towards the end, we needed to re-calibrate all those landing aids at the time, which is the requirement. This is to ensure they are working in perfect order. We didn’t have the capability as a country. The only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French-speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they didn’t have a slot for us and if I didn’t get the support of faraway South Africa, we wouldn’t beat the six weeks deadline. I said if Niger can have it, why not Nigeria? We used to have it under cover aviation flying unit. I approached the president for approval and got it to procure this aircraft. Mssrs Cross Wind LTD won the contract. This aircraft was purposely built for Nigeria, it is equipped and has been delivered. This is the key.”
The purchase of the aircraft valued at $8.5 million is expected to help Nigeria save a million naira yearly.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500.000 when our equipment was due last year to a South African contractor to carry out this task. If you say every six months, we will do this, that would be half a million every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialize it, generate revenue and keep our industry safe too,” the Minister said.
A firefighting equipment is next: In line with the renewed drive to boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through aviation by 1% in 2020, an estimation of over N1.2 trillion as revealed in a Nairametrics report, a fully automated firefighting equipment in Zaria will be unveiled to achieve flight safety operations.
About the King Air 350i Aircraft: The King Air 350i is a twin-turboprop engine executive aircraft utilizing an all-metal airframe. The aircraft has provisions for up to nine passengers and their baggage plus a crew of two. The aircraft is certified for single-pilot operation.