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Aviation Support Services Call for Establishment of Aircraft Maintenance Facility in Nigeria.

The Managing Director/CEO of Toucan
Aviation Support Services, Achuzie Ezenagu has called on the federal
government and stakeholders in the industry to urgently establish a
major Maintenance, Overhaul and Repair (MRO) facility in Nigeria.
Ezenagu, who made the call at the
Nigerian Business Aviation Conference, which ended in Lagos at the
weekend, said the establishment of the facility would save Nigeria huge
financial resources, help to train and employ indigenous aircraft
engineers, make aircraft checks cost effective for Nigerian airlines as
well as reinforce Nigeria as a hub in West Africa.
It is estimated that Nigeria spends over
N15 billion annually on periodic maintenance of its aircraft overseas.
In addition to retaining this huge amount of money in Nigeria; the
setting up of MRO facility in the country would create thousands of jobs
for Nigerians.
However, Ezenagu observed that
establishing an MRO in the country would face challenges, noting that it
would be costly because Nigeria does not have the necessary
infrastructure to facilitate it. He added that the cooperation of
government and industry stakeholders were needed to make it possible.
Speaking in the same vein at the
conference, the former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren said Nigeria was overripe to have
such facility and noted that if 40 per cent of the funds spent on the
re-modelling of airport facilities in the last few years was deployed by
government to establish the facility, it would have been invaluable for
the development of aviation in the country.
Demuren noted that Nigeria loses huge
resources maintaining aircraft overseas adding, besides the economic
losses, Nigerian trained aircraft engineers cannot secure jobs locally.
He also pointed out that for Nigeria to become the West African hub, it
must have the MRO facility.
The annual Nigerian Business Aviation
Conference is about the development of business aviation, which includes
private charter services, cargo operations and others and how they help
as catalyst to the nation’s economic development.
Ezenagu who was a panelist at the
conference said Nigeria needs to focus on aviation development because
it is the fulcrum of the nation’s development.
“We should make the airport more
accessible and make them more available. Government can encourage
stakeholders to grow the sector by providing incentives. Government
should also find a way to bring all the data from different sectors of
the economy together because every sector works hand in hand with
another.
“MRO is costly to set up in Nigeria
because of the heavy levies from government, but this can be done. In
our own company we operate Embraer aircraft and we have standby
engineers for line maintenance for the planes. We don’t have the
facilities to get the checks done here but government can partner with
the private sector to establish a major MRO in the country,” Ezenagu
said.
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