Nigeria set to meet the growing demand for non-scheduled flights with Abuja private jet terminal

Nigeria is said to be one of the leading private jet markets, rivalling the US, UK and China as countries that top the list of bombardier aircraft orders — and things just got better. The Ministry of Transport has allotted about N258m ($1.3million) for the construction of a new terminal for private jet operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja.

As contained in the budget proposal, the ministry has allocated N173m ($868,473) for the construction of a General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at Wing D of the Abuja airport. Building the GAT for private jet operation will cost about N71.5m ($358,892), while N13.6m ($68,263) will be invested towards the rehabilitation of the fire station at the airport and a GAT protocol lounge.

The ministry has also put forward a plan to construct a new airline office at the airport for N66.5m ($82,819), while a new Accident and Rescue Centre will be built for N45m ($225,869).

The provision of non-scheduled flights services will go a long way in meeting the needs of both private jet owners and the Nigerian aviation industry as a whole. In 2013, over 20 Nigerian private jet operators embarked on an indefinite strike, following the imposition of a $3000 luxury tax by the country’s airspace management agency (NAMA).

Last year, owners were handed a 120-day period to align their operations with the required regularisation policy. In a statement issued by the spokesman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Fan Ndubuoke, the authority stated that the 90-day proposition was given in an effort to ensure that private jet owners come up with their operational preference in due time. As a result of this, aircraft operations were grounded in order for the aviation authority to approve a substitute operational status for the aircraft. That way, it would be possible for them to run a legitimate commercial operation corresponding to the authority’s regulation.

In the five years leading up to 2012, 120 private jets worth a total of $6.5 billion were imported into Nigeria, bringing the country’s private jet fleet to about 200 aircraft – almost 10 times the number of planes operated by Arik Air.

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