Nigeria’s government is keen to establish new aircraft leasing operations and maintenance companies as part of its effort to modernise civil aviation, an effort which includes creating flag-carrier Nigeria Air.

The government says the leasing firm would “mitigate” risks that discourage international lessors from providing aircraft to African carriers.

It would structure the firm as a joint public-private venture which would then acquire aircraft from international lessors, before sub-leasing them to other operators on the continent.

While East Africa has a “strong” aviation strategy, says the government, just a fraction of the overall African fleet is deployed with West African carriers.

It estimates that, although the African fleet age has been declining, there are some 130 aircraft aged over 20 years. The leasing company would typically focus on Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.

“Most of the major international lessors are reluctant to lease aircraft to African airlines due to perceived risks – principally revenue, maintenance and legal risks,” says the government in an “investment teaser” document, distributed during the unveiling of Nigeria Air at the Farnborough air show.

It is proposing incentives such as establishment of a free zone at Nigerian airports, a measure which could also apply to a planned new maintenance company.

The maintenance company is similarly the subject of an “investment teaser”, which describes the high logistics costs to airlines of ferrying aircraft to bases in Europe, the Middle East and Asia for servicing.

It states that there is an “urgent need” for an independent maintenance organisation, particularly in West and Central Africa. The government is proposing a facility, primarily for single-aisle aircraft but with an option to handle long-haul types, which would be constructed through public-private partnership using a build-operate-transfer model.

Source: Cirium Dashboard