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Tinubu puts 3 presidential jets for sale

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As part of his administration’s effort to cut down the cost of governance, President Bola Tinubu has reportedly expressed willingness to auction three presidential Air Fleet.

The fleet currently consists of ten aircraft, six jets and four helicopters which will be reduced to seven if the planned action is carried out.

During President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the proposal to sell two planes from the fleet was dashed.

In October 2016, a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet were offered for sale.

The preferred bidders who initially agreed to pay $ 24 million for the two aircraft, later reduced their offer to $ 11 million. This was rejected by the then government.

Thereafter, an arrangement to put some of the aircraft on chatter for willing governors was initiated to make the planes income-generating, thereby reducing the government expenses on maintenance.

The planes in the Presidential Fleet are Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcon 7X, HS 4000, two Agusta 139, and two Agusta 101.

The BBJ 737 is the Nigerian Air Force One, which is used exclusively by the President.

It is designed to serve as an office and a residential quarter on air to enable the president to function effectively during his trip.

The President also uses one of the helicopters for shuttles during his trips around the country.

It could not be ascertained at the weekend if the President BBJ 737 will be sold and replaced.

The BBJ was bought for about $43 million during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

A Falcon and Embraer jets have been slated to be sold.

Not less than N80 billion has been budgeted for the PAF as maintenance cost, as follows: 2016 (N3.65 billion), 2017 (N4.37 billion), 2018 (N7.26 billion), 2019 (N7.30 billion), 2020 (N6.79 billion), 2021 (N12.55 billion), 2022 (N12.48 billion) and in 2023 about N25.7billion, made up of N13billion in the budget and N12.7billion in the 2023 Supplementary Budget.

The amount released from the budgetary line year on year could not be confirmed.

But President Tinubu is said to be uncomfortable with the rising cost of maintenance, hence his directive to reduce the fleet.

A top source according to The Nation who spoke in confidence, said, “The President is uncomfortable with the rising cost of maintaining the planes.

“Three planes have been pencilled down for disposal.

“The main reason is cutting down high maintenance costs.

“I think officers in PAF were particularly concerned about the frequency of maintenance and how much it costs the nation.

“The President decided to let off the aircraft that constitute the most burdensome.”

 

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