AM EDITORIAL: Acquiring Aircraft On Dry-Lease: Standing On Keyamo’s Promise

Acquiring aircraft on dry-lease has been a challenge for Nigeria’s airline operators over the years, resulting from compliance deficiencies with legal remittance expectations from the lessee to the lessors of those aircraft.

Nigeria was blacklisted by global aircraft lessors, who eventually insisted that acquiring aircraft on dry lease basis by any Nigerian operator would involve Nigerian government guarantee of the lessor’s access to their aircraft in case of breach of lease agreements by a Nigerian lessee.

This position constrained Nigeria’s airline operators from aircraft acquisition on dry-lease and restricted most of the local operators to wet-leasing of aircraft, which is very expensive, making it difficult for them to maintain a robust aircraft fleet.

Since assumption of office nine months ago, the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) has repeatedly promised that he is committed to using his legal acumen and experience to ensure that Nigeria’s airline operators are enabled to acquire aircraft under dry lease arrangements. His efforts have involved negotiations aimed at rehabilitating Nigeria’s standing in the global aviation community.

Keyamo has approached the International Aviation Group and visited the Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France as part of efforts to re-attract aircraft lessors’ interest in dry leasing aircraft to Nigerian airlines.

A letter from Hadi Akoum of Airbus to Keyamo after his visit to Airbus facilities in Toulouse was instructive. It reads in part: “Your proactive approach to addressing key issues such as aircraft financing and insurance matters reflects your commitment to fostering a thriving aviation industry in Nigeria.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to delve into various topics pertinent to the aviation industry, from aircraft leasing to technological advancements and sustainable practices.”

“..we will diligently follow up on the pivotal topics covered during your visit, such as facilitating access to foreign currency for airlines acquiring new aircraft and resolving the requirement for airlines to obtain local insurance for foreign-financed aircraft. This proactive approach will advance our mutual objectives of enhancing Nigeria’s air transport sector with modern, eco-friendly aircraft, thereby reducing operational expenses and mitigating environmental impact.”

We applaud Minister Keyamo’s efforts on this issue of aircraft dry-lease possibilities for domestic airlines in Nigeria and urge him to ensure that this particular task he has given to himself is actualized. There is a dire need to fulfill this promise in the interest of growth and development of local airlines in Nigeria. AM

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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