As part of the federal government’s cost measures, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that nine of the VIP transport aircraft under the presidential fleet should be sold. Industry sources informed THISDAY that the presidential fleet, which are registered as Nigerian Air Force aircraft, is one of the largest in Africa and the third largest in Nigeria after Arik Air and Aerocontractors.
According to an aviation source, who is aware of the directive to sell the aircraft, the presidency has a number of serviceable and unserviceable aircraft that need to be disposed of in order to reduce the amount spent by the federal government for aircraft maintenance annually.
“Nine, which still have market value, are to be sold immediately to reduce maintenance costs,” he said.
For years, the federal government has spent over N12 billion annually for the maintenance of the presidential fleet.
Although information on the exact size of the fleet is treated as classified information, the fleet, according to aviation sources, is believed to comprise about 16 aircraft, chief of which is the Boeing 738 BBJ, NAF 001 or Eagle One, used by the president for his travels.
Aircraft reserved for executive airlift are used by the Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and could be used to convey African heads of states visiting or departing Nigeria.