The chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, has applauded the minister of aviation and aerospace development, Mr Festus Keyamo for the initiative that airlines acquiring aircraft should also work with the original equipment manufacturer (EOM) to set up a maintenance centre in Nigeria.
Onyema made the commendation at the 7th edition of the Aviation Africa Summit held in Abuja where the airline signed a firm order for five brand new Embraer 175 aircraft valued N221.6bn
“The…minister has just scored a first in just a month of being appointed. He called me in two weeks ago and said, going forward, any Nigerian airline that wants to bring in brand new planes must also think of maintenance responsibility for those planes in-house and within Nigeria.
“He made it compulsory that if you are going into the acquisition of more than 20 aircraft, you must show evidence that the OEM is also going to support the setting up of a maintenance centre in Nigeria for the local maintenance of such planes and for third parties too because you know the amount of billions we export outside the country for doing maintenance,” Onyema said.
The airline chief also disclosed that part of the deal with the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer is the setting up of a maintenance facility in Nigeria.
“We are going to have a maintenance centre in Nigeria with Embraer’s support. That will be set up in due course so that all these fleets of Embraer jets will be maintained in Nigeria. So, I thank the minister for leading this. That is why I said he has scored a first. This is what we talk about somebody working without vested interests; someone whose interest is for the good of the nation.”
Onyema said the “new maintenance initiative is good for this country, West Africa and the entire Africa and it is good for the world because sometimes you find airlines from America bringing their planes down here for maintenance whenever they have a glut over there.”
He explained that setting up local maintenance facilities would help Nigeria’s reserves and the airlines in Nigeria and West Africa to conserve their meagre foreign exchange
Onyema expressed appreciation to the director general, civil aviation, Capt Musa Nuhu for the “top-notch oversight over the years” thereby making Nigerian skies the safest in the world.