The prohibitive cost of offshore maintenance of aircraft eats deeply into the pockets of airlines in Nigeria. Sadly, some carriers take their airplanes abroad and are unable to bring them home on account of oscillating exchange rate, which increases costs and other considerations. To bridge this gap, some carriers are exploring opportunities in setting up aircraft maintenance centres in-country to boost local capacity in airplane repairs, optimise economies of scales and other benefits, KELVIN OSA-OKUNBOR reports.
Nigerian carriers are striving to overcome the huge cost of running airlines as part of measures to ensure business sustainability by curtailing the high costs of fixing their airplanes at aircraft maintenance centres across the globe.
Besides reducing the huge amount spent in airplanes’ repairs abroad, the airlines are looking at ways and means to enhance fixing their aircraft at accredited maintenance centres in-country.
To drive this initiative, fledgling carrier – United Nigeria Airlines – and Air Peace have concluded plans to set up repair centres.
The repair centre, proposed by United Nigeria Airlines, will be based in Enugu, its operational headquarters.
The centre, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Obiora Okonkwo, said will focus on the Brazillian airplane model – Embraer, which is gaining traction among Nigerian operators.
Okonkwo said the decision of the airline to set up their own repair centre was to ensure reduced cost of operations for the airline and other third party users that will benefit from the facility.
Speaking in an interview recently in Lagos, he said the carrier had concluded plans with its foreign technical partners to drive the project.
When completed, the facility would serve airlines in West and Central Africa and would save a projected $500 million for Nigerian airlines, which is the cost of ferrying aircraft overseas, payment for allowances for flight…