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Recession: Buhari Puts two Presidential Aircraft For Sale; buyers to pay in dollar

In the face of economic recession, the Federal Government has put up two of the 10 aircraft – a Falcon 7X and Hawker Sidley 4000 – in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) for sale.

The government has, in an advertisement placed on the National Dailies, informed interested buyers of the luxury aircraft to inspect the Falcon 7X aircraft at the Presidential Air Fleet’s Hangar located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while the Hawker 4000 aircraft can be inspected at Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre, Zurich, Switzerland. New Telegraph learnt that the Federal Government has spent N7 billion maintaining the 10-aircraft in 16 months. PAF has the second largest fleet of aircraft in the country, coming behind Arik Air, Nigeria’s biggest airline.

The Presidency has 10 aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet. They include, Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or AirForce One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two Agusta Westland AW 101 helicopters.

The combined estimated value of all the 10 aircraft in the fleet of the Presidency is put at over $450 million. Investigations revealed that each of the two Falcon 7X jets was purchased in 2010 by the Federal

Government for $51.1 million, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3 million. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in 2010 approved the purchase of three aircraft for PAF. The airplanes, which included a Gulfstream G550 and two new Falcon 7X, cost the country $154.3 million.

The Presidency yesterday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sale of two aircraft in presidential fleet. The decision for the sale of the aircraft, according to the Presidency, is part of government’s desire to cut down cost of governance.

A statement yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said Buhari had promised Nigerians during the campaigns to consider the number of aircraft in the fleet with the view to reducing them.

According to Shehu, “this is in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet be reduced to cut down on waste.

“When he campaigned to be President, the then All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, if you recall, promised to look at the presidential air fleet with view to cutting down on waste.

“His directive to a government committee on this assignment is that he liked to see a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the president, the vice president and other government officials that go on special missions.”

The Presidency added that the sale of the two aircraft is not the end of the process as others will be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.

“This exercise is by no means complete. Other aircraft within the fleet are expected to be handed to the Nigerian Air Force for their operations.

“I am sure the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet will any time from now, call you to a ceremony at which he will hand over some other aircraft to the Air Force for their operations,” Garba added.

The Falcon 7X is a three-engine cantilever monoplane with a low-positioned, high swept wing, with a horizontal stabiliser at mid-height and a retractable tricycle landing gear. It has three rearmounted Pratt & Whitney PW307A turbofan engines, two on the side of the fuselage and one in a centre position.

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