The federal government has commenced phasing out of obsolete aircrafts at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria, to ensure the realization of the aviation master plan.
The college took delivery of DA42NG Trainer Aircraft built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria, the first to be delivered out of the 20 required by the college.
Speaking in Zaria, Monday, Minister of State (Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika, said, “The federal government is in full support of the refleeting of trainer aircraft at the NCAT, Zaria.
“The acquisition of the new aircraft was a commendable initiative by the institution as well as the refleeting of its old aircraft used for its training.”
He explained that the federal government was committed to the aviation master plan across the country.
Earlier, Rector and Chief Excutive of NCAT, Capt. Abdulsalami Mohammed, said, “Honourable Minister, as you already know, there are currently 29 trainer aircrafts in the college. These aircrafts used for ab-inition training TB 9, Trinidad TB 20 GT and Beech Baron 58 are old, the earliest being purchased 15 years, and quite expensive to fuel and maintain.
“In the light of this, the college initiated moves at refleeting its trainer aircraft. It is thrilling for us that we are gathered today to witness the culmination of that initiative.
“NCAT is acquiring a total of of 20 of these aircraft, five multi-engine DA42 and 15 single-engine DA40 trainers. Today we are taking delivery of the first DA42 multi-engine aircraft.
“These new trainer aircraft would significantly improve our flight training experience. And from the angle of cost efficiency, our analysis shows they will significantly reduce our operating cost, especially in the area of maintenence and fueling.
“They are also equipped with glass cockpit and garmin 1000, which will make it easier for our graduating pilots to transition to new generation commercial aircraft.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Interject, the Co-manufactutrer of the aircraft, Mr. Seun Peters, said that the re-fleeting exercise was a smart step and Interject and Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria Diamond were happy to partner the government in that journey.
He said their aircrafts were one of the safest and most durable in the world, as they come with advanced avionics and sophisticated Austro engines.
He said, “The handing over of first DA42NG Trainer Aircraft today indeed marks a bold initiative by the federal government towards making air the preferred and safest means of transportation in Nigeria; creating a self-sustaining business model; driving socio-economic growth and remodelling the nation as a sought-after-destination point in Africa like Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
“In fact, Nigeria, with its potentials can do much more considering this government’s objective to transform the aviation sector for sustainable economic growth and tremendous addition to national GDP. This is manifest in the record-breaking performance of the Ministry of Transportation in the resurfacing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Honourable Minister, we thank you for your passion and commitment to service.
“In achieving this feat, we are well aware of the role NCAT is expected to play in training quality manpower; first among equals for safety, standards and efficiency. This role is very crucial to the diversification drive of government to open our country to foreign investments; in this we are proud to be associated with the federal government in making this a reality.
“Our determination is to see NCAT re-positioned as a foremost international academy; a choice training aviation institution for professionals in the whole of Africa; we believe this is very possible.
“Our Aircrafts are one of the safest and most durable in the world and come with advanced avionics and sophisticated Austro engines which run on JET-A1 which is much easier to purchase than Aviation Gasoline (AVGAS).
“The Aircrafts are built with composite material which make them light weight and easy to fly and have a remarkable fuel efficiency. Our safety record is unmatched which is why our Aircrafts are the best and most sought after in the world today.
“There is therefore absolutely no reason why Nigeria cannot maintain and assemble aircrafts in this age of ICT and universal science engineering. This is why Interjet Limited, in partnership with Diamond Aircrafts of Austria, is working towards building a state-of-the-art maintenance facility in Abuja to service Nigeria and other West African countries.
“We are confident that in view of our experience, the dream of the Buhari -led Administration to turn Nigeria into a leading aviation hub for sales and maintenance of Aircrafts in Africa will be realised.
“We want to assure the Honourable Minister, management of NCAT and the Nigerian people, of our preparedness to support the federal government in this patriotic mission. I believe this is the beginning of good things to come in the Aviation sector.”