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Why Tinubu wants to sell Nigeria’s Presidential Jets



Why Tinubu wants to sell Nigeria's Presidential Jets

The Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government is making moves to sell off three jets from the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) as part of its cost-saving measures, according to reports.

The proposed sale of these aircraft forms part of the broader strategy adopted by the Tinubu administration to streamline government expenditure.

Currently, the Presidential Air Fleet consists of 10 aircraft, comprising six jets and four helicopters. Should the proposed action be successful, this number would be reduced to seven.

Among the aircraft in the fleet are notable models such as the 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. It is equipped to function both as an office and a residential quarter in the air, facilitating the President’s effectiveness during official trips.

In the past, attempts were made to sell off certain aircraft from the fleet. Notably, in October 2016, a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet were put up for sale. However, the proposed sale fell through after the preferred bidders reduced their offer from $24 million to $11 million, a figure rejected by the Muhammadu Buhari government.

The decision to sell off the aircraft stems from concerns over the escalating maintenance costs, which have been a significant financial burden. Over the years, substantial sums have been allocated for the maintenance of the PAF, totaling not less than N80 billion.

In a conversation with The Nation, a presidential source revealed President Tinubu’s discomfort with the increasing maintenance costs and his directive to downsize the fleet accordingly.

Furthermore, the source explained that while the Presidential Air Fleet primarily serves official government functions, it also plays a crucial role in facilitating travel to African countries where air connectivity is limited.

The management of the fleet falls under the purview of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for effective coordination.

An investigation conducted by The Nation suggests that maintenance fees incurred by the presidency in recent months could exceed $5 million. However, the exact figure of outstanding commitments related to the fleet remains unclear.