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Airbus Writes Aviation Minister Keyamo, Pledges To Work With Nigeria To Boost Air Transport

Ibom Air has received the first of 10 Airbus aircraft and is establishing an MRO facility for aircraft maintenance.

World’s third largest aircraft manufacturer, Airbus has pledged to work with Nigeria to boost air transport in the country.

This was contained in a letter written to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo by Airbus Vice President in charge of Sales for Africa, Hadi Akoum, dated March 20, 2024.

In acknowledgement and appreciation of the minister’s recent visit to Toulouse, France, the company’s operational headquarters, Akoum promised that Airbus would support Nigeria in aircraft acquisition and financing and in establishing modern maintenance facilities in the country.

“The discussions we engaged in regarding the future of aviation in Nigeria were both enlightening and inspiring and evident from our conversations that Nigeria possesses great potential in the aviation sector, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.

“Your proactive approach to addressing key issues such as aircraft financing and insurance matters reflects your commitment to fostering a thriving aviation industry in Nigeria,” Akoum stated in the letter.

He said that Airbus took cognisance of the core discussions on how to improve aviation in Nigeria, which pointed out the areas the European-based company could come in to give support to the country.

“The exchange of minds and ideas during our meeting was invaluable. We appreciate the opportunity to delve into various topics pertinent to the aviation industry, from aircraft leasing to technological advancements and sustainable practices.

“Your insights and vision for the future of Nigerian aviation provided us with valuable perspectives that will undoubtedly guide our collaboration moving forward,” the letter added.

Airbus also said that Nigerian airlines should be allowed to cater for their own market, which means taking charge of their local and international market and should be given full support to do so, adding that it would help Nigerian carriers in aircraft financing and insurance.

The letter stressed: “At Airbus, we believe Nigerian airlines should cater for their own market, hence we are enthusiastic about continuing our partnership with Nigeria to support the growth and development of its aviation sector.

“We remain committed to working closely with you and your team to explore innovative solutions and seize opportunities and capitalise on the potential of Nigeria. In the upcoming weeks, we will diligently follow up on the pivotal topics covered during your visit, such as facilitating access to foreign currency for airlines acquiring new aircraft and resolving the requirement for airlines to obtain local insurance for foreign-financed aircraft.

“This proactive approach will advance our mutual objectives of enhancing Nigeria’s air transport sector with modern eco-friendly aircraft, thereby reducing operational expenses and mitigating environmental impact.”

Meanwhile recently, Ibom Air took delivery of the first of 10 aircraft it ordered from Airbus and in the coming months, the airline would receive the remaining aircraft.

Ibom Air is also building an aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Uyo, the state capital and hopes to partner with Airbus in providing technical personnel, equipment and aircraft spares.

Chinedu Eze

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