Government Scrutiny, Recession Reduce Private Charter Jets by 46%

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A private Jet owned by Femi Otedola, chairman, Forte Oil
A private Jet owned by Femi Otedola, chairman, Forte Oil

NAOMI NDUBUEZE

Government inspection of the aviation sector and the current poor economic situation have forced down the number of private jets operating in Nigeria by 46% according to BusinessDay report.

In 2015 and 2016, 67 jets were registered with NCAA, 31 of which have been removed from NCAA’s register. Most of them were either sold or returned to their owners abroad.

Out of the 36 registered aircrafts, half are owned by the state the other half belonged to private individuals and companies.

Dung Pam, chairman, Governing Board of the Aviation Safety Initiative (NASI) while giving reasons for the prevalence of unregistered jets in Nigeria said most operators do not want their jets to be under supervision of the NCAA, hence they registered the jets outside Nigeria, buts these jets are being flown as private jets in the country.

“The number of charter and private jets registered in the country will reduce because a lot of people who own business jets are people known to have had highly-placed friends in previous governments, yet with little verifiable means of livelihood,” he explained.

According to him, since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came into power, close to 30% of those jets could no longer be found in the country. “The operators took them to other countries where they registered and kept them for safe keeping. Most of the jets that are private are the ones belonging to Theopilus Yakubu Danjuma and Aliko Dangote but other operators used their own jets for charter and commercial purposes.”

However, operators of charter jets are unhappy about the development. Segun Demuren, managing director of Evergreen Apple Nigeria Limited, a private charter terminal operator and aircraft maintenance centre, said the issue on certain public official over the use of charter jets should not be used to endanger their businesses. He said this may send wrong signal about government officials hiring business jets.

In addition, Nurudeen Abdulkareem, President of the Ilorin International Aviation College, who hinged the current dwindling number of private jets in the country on the economic recession, noted that moving an aircraft out because of the recession is a wise decision.

“If operators cannot thrive in their business, it is better they move somewhere with brighter prospects, instead of incurring unsustainable overhead debts,” he explained.