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Hope rises for Nigerian airlines as FG assures lessors guarantee on their assets

Hope rises for Nigerian airlines as FG assures lessors guarantee on their assets

…Air Peace chairman commends FG, says positive revolution in the aviation industry

The Federal Government has agreed to guarantee aircraft leasing companies the recovery of their assets leased to Nigerian airlines in case of default.

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation, gave the assurance when officials of the Boeing company, the manufacturers of Boeing air planes and officials of Aercap, the world’s biggest aircraft leasing company, led by Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Nigeria’s leading carrier, Air Peace, paid him a courtesy visit.

Boeing and Aercap expressed the willingness to offer Nigerian carriers dry lease opportunities if the country met certain conditions.

It would be recalled that while the biggest airlines in the world thrive on their partnership with Lessors through dry leasing and other forms of financing for their aircraft acquisitions, the Nigerian airlines are not that fortunate because lessors worldwide, for over a decade now, have unofficially blacklisted Nigerian airlines from such opportunities as the lessors claimed that the country had not helped in the recovery of aircraft from defaulting airlines in Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation expressed the willingness and desire of the Federal Government of Nigeria to strengthen the capacity of the indigenous Nigerian airlines to compete on the global stage. On this, he reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government to guarantee the release of Lessors’ assets to its owners from any defaulting Nigerian airline.

Read also: Shrinking fleet, route difference limit Nigerian airlines’ alliance

Keyamo, during the meeting, said his decision to enable lessors to afford Nigerian airlines dry lease options was in line with the plans of the federal government to boost the capacity of Nigerian airlines in order to enable them to compete effectively in the international air transport market.

He assured Boeing, Aercap and other lessors that the federal government would guarantee the release of their assets from any Nigerian carrier whenever there is a default and emphasized that this is a new era and a new government, which has the emphasis on creating an enabling environment for Nigerian airlines.

The Minister gave the assurance that lessors would not be shortchanged over their assets; stressing that the government would do everything necessary to safeguard lessors’ assets from airlines in the case of default.

The Minister also emphasized that lessors should inform the government about the airline they are dealing with so that the government can carry out due diligence on the operator’s financial status and other vital records.

Read also: Nigerian airlines’ push for international flights faces snags

Allen Onyema, the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, thanked the Minister of Aviation and the federal government for the commitment to help Nigerian carriers by agreeing in principle to give such guarantees to lessors worldwide.

He said, “By the Minister’s promise today, the government has indicated that it is not paying lip service to its plan to provide lifeline and support to Nigerian airlines and a positive revolution in the aviation industry is now imminent”.

Onyema also commended the Minister on the stand he took for Nigeria on Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) in order to protect Nigerian carriers during the just concluded 15th International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Service Negotiation (ICAN2023) held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he led the country to, not only refuse the usual short-changing of the country through lopsided BASA agreements but, in one instance, walked out on a nation that has refused to abide by the principle of reciprocity in her treatment of Nigerian airlines contrary to the BASA signed by both countries.