Tinubu Administration to Trim Presidential Air Fleet, Sell Three Aircraft

The government led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu is preparing to sell three aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) as part of its cost-saving measures. Currently consisting of 10 aircraft, including six jets and four helicopters, the fleet will be reduced to seven if the plan is successful. Among the aircraft in the fleet are Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcon 7X, HS 4000, two Agusta 139, and two Agusta 101.

The BBJ 737 serves as the Nigerian Air Force One, exclusively used by the President as both an office and residential quarter in the air. Additionally, one of the helicopters is used for the President’s shuttles during trips within the country. Previous attempts to sell a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet in October 2016 were unsuccessful, as the preferred bidders reduced their offer from $24 million to $11 million, which was rejected by the Muhammadu Buhari government.

The maintenance cost of the PAF has been significant, with approximately N80 billion budgeted for maintenance between 2016 and 2023. President Tinubu is reportedly concerned about the escalating maintenance costs, prompting his decision to downsize the fleet. The decision to sell these aircraft aims to alleviate the financial burden of frequent maintenance, which has been a source of concern for the Presidential Air Fleet management.

The use of the Presidential Air Fleet is crucial for connecting various African countries by air, as it saves significant time for top government officials. The management of the fleet falls under the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for efficient oversight. Investigations suggest that the presidency might have spent over $5 million on maintenance fees in recent months, with outstanding commitments on the fleet yet to be settled.

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