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FG puts N8.7bn aircraft for sale to cut governance cost

Four years after the Federal Government put two of its 10 airplanes, a Falcon 7X and Hawker Sidley 4000 for sale, the government has, again, put up for sale a jet in the Presidential fleet, Hawker 4000 aircraft with registration number, 5N-FGX/: RC 066. The business-size jet, which entered into service in December 2011, has capacity for nine passengers and three crew members.

The Hawker 4000, originally known as the Hawker Horizon, is a super-midsize business jet developed by Hawker Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon Aircraft Company. The luxury airplane costs $22.9 million (N8.7 billion), according to the manufacturers of the plane. The government has informed interested buyers of the luxury aircraft to inspect the Hawker 4000 aircraft at the Presidential Air Fleet’s Hangar located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja which, it said, is “ready for sale immediately.” In an advertisement published in some national dailies yesterday, the Federal Government asked prospective buyers to submit a bank draft of $50,000 to the committee with the bid.

The money is refundable except for the winner of the bid. Interested buyers were requested to submit their closed bid to the Chairman, Committee for Sale of Aircraft, Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), in care of Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. It also said that all the bids should be quoted in United States dollars. The notice read: “Please note that all bids must be submitted within one week of this publication.

Background check is required as a pre-qualification for the bid. Prospective bidders, who want to inspect the aircraft, will be granted access within one week from this advertisement.” The Hawker 4000 can be outfitted to seat 10 people. The aircraft’s carbon composite construction gives it more interior space than many jets in its class.

Interior standing room is an average of six feet. This composite construction also makes the aircraft lighter than a standard aluminium structure, allowing a maximum range of 3,445 nautical miles, and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet (14,000 m).

The aircraft is attracting a lot of attention because of its young age and high level maintenance given to it, including few hours it has flown coupled with the interior that is said to be exquisite. Hawker 4000 is a supermidsize airplane that seats nine passengers in an elegant and luxurious standup cabin. With a range of nearly 3,200nm, it is a true coastto- coast performer against nearly any headwind and at better than airline speeds. It is a remarkable shortfield performer for an airplane in its class, and it is competitively priced too. On top of that, it is remarkably sophisticated, with systems and features unparalleled in its category. President Muhammadu Buhari had, before he assumed office, said he would put the airplanes for sale to cut cost of governance.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had, in 2010, approved the purchase of three aircraft for the Presi-dential Air Fleet. The airplanes, which included a Gulfstream G550 and two new Falcon 7X cost the country $154.3 million. Business mogul and chairman of Globacom, Chief Mike Adenuga owns a Falcon 7X aircraft.

Adenuga is said to own another luxurious Bombardier Challenger 604 which cost $30 million. There are many other wealthy Nigerians who fly in state-of-the-art aircraft like Bombardier Global 600, Gulfstream G550, Embraer Legacy 650, Hawker 900XP and Learjet.

While the market for many products is shrinking, private jet manufacturers and dealers have found a ready market in Nigeria. Indeed, Bombadier and Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, both jet manufacturers, have never had it so good. Overflying the Nigerian airspace today are some of the best and, of course, most expensive private jets these companies have on offer.

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