FG Set to Purchase New Presidential Aircraft, Three Planes Up for Sale

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In a significant move aimed at streamlining the presidential air fleet and cutting down on excessive maintenance costs, the Nigerian federal government has decided to sell three ageing presidential aircraft. The proceeds from these sales will be used to purchase a new, more efficient jet for the nation’s leadership.

The decision, comes in response to the high costs associated with maintaining a fleet of aircraft that are largely underused. The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence had recommended the purchase of two new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima. However, financial constraints mean that the government can only afford one new jet, which will be partially funded by the sale of the older aircraft.

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Currently, the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) comprises six airplanes and four helicopters, including a Boeing 737 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), a Gulfstream G550, a Gulfstream GV, two Falcon 7x jets, and a Challenger CL605. The sale of three aircraft—specifically a Boeing 737 BBJ, a Gulfstream, and a Falcon 7x—will reduce the fleet by half, leaving three airplanes and four helicopters.

Insiders reveal that a significant portion of the fleet is either unserviceable or experiencing frequent mechanical issues. This has made their upkeep increasingly burdensome and financially unsustainable. The sale of these aircraft is thus seen as a pragmatic solution to alleviate maintenance challenges while ensuring that the presidential fleet remains functional and reliable.

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The federal government has engaged JetHQ, a US-based airline marketing firm, to handle the sale of the aircraft. Offers have already been received for the Boeing 737 BBJ and the Falcon 7x, though no final sales have been completed. The National Security Adviser (NSA) has emphasized the need to secure favorable deals to ensure the government receives adequate returns on these sales.

 

Zakari Mijinyawa, a spokesman for the NSA, confirmed that while offers are on the table, the focus remains on negotiating the best possible deals for the government. “We have received two offers for the BBJ and one for the Falcon X. However, we are pressing for better deals rather than rushing into agreements that may not be beneficial in the long run,” a PAF official noted.

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