The Nigerian Government approved the sum of N2.3 billion for the commencement of the local assembly of Magnus Centennial Aircraft at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister stated that this is a major first step towards making Nigeria an aircraft manufacturing hub.
Magnus aircraft: Sirika revealed that the FEC approved N2.3 billion for the local assembly for the Magnus Centennial Aircraft, which will come alongside training.
“I am happy to announce today is the reality; we will indeed assemble the Magnus aircraft and will continue to do so and not too distant future by God’s grace, the industry of civil aviation will begin to manufacture right here in the country.
“But we are beginning by assembling these training aircraft and it will happen very soon.
“So, the memorandum has been passed in council; the manufacturer of the aeroplane is based in Hungary.
“And the total contract sum is N2.3 billion; the completion period is 18 months.’’
Training: The Minister also added that despite the civil aviation industry stopping the spin and spin recovery training programme the need for such training had arisen again, as it enables students to identify when they get into the spin situation, and how to recover.
“We were all trained like that as pilots; but because airplanes become more and more technologically advanced, the need for a spin and spin recovery didn’t arise, because they are becoming more and more sophisticated.
“ But again, the world realised that we still get into spin or there is a need for this skill to be developed for recovery out of a spin situation.
“So, most of the manufacturers stopped producing trainers for that purpose; and so there are not many people now that do that manufacture.
He added the company, Messrs Magnus, realised the gap and started to produce aeroplanes that can get into a spin and out of it so that students can be trained on that.
The plane features: Sirika said the FG intends to assemble them locally, citing that the plane is fully aerobatic, which would be beneficial to the Armed Forces.
“So this aeroplane is fully aerobatic, goes into aerobatics; and I think the Nigerian Air Force and the Air Force around the region will be interested and excited by this development, we are taking the lead in civil aviation.
We intend to produce them here, assemble them here in policy when in the future, you know, sell them out to where we’re interested around the world.
“So this will happen and I think the first one or two aircraft will happen here in Nigeria and to fly them within the remaining four months that we have as a government.
“So it is another item that is ticked on our plate, and to which we remain grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.”
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Nairametrics reported recently that the Federal Government has failed to fulfil its promise of delivering efficient Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities for Nigerian airlines almost eight years into President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
This is despite the government’s selection of A. J Walters Aviation Limited, EgyptAir Maintenance & Engineering (EGME) and Glovesly Pro-Project Limited as the preferred bidders to establish the MRO centre.
Three years after the successful bidders were selected in January 2020, the details of the project takeoff have remained sketchy.
The failure of the government to midwife a successful MRO facility is costing Nigerian airlines about $2.5 billion annual loss, according to stakeholders in the industry.
The loss includes taxes to government agencies, manpower development and employment generation.
For instance, to carry out C-check on Boeing 737 aircraft, airlines expend at least $1.8 million. The C-check is carried out on aircraft every 18 months.
The stakeholders insisted that Nigeria’s potential and capacity in the global air transport industry were being grossly underutilised and attributed this blame to the Federal Government for almost eight years.