Industry sources informed THISDAY that the presidential fleet, which are registered as Nigerian Air Force aircraft, is one of the largest in Africa and the third largest in Nigeria after Arik Air and Aerocontractors.
According to an aviation source, who is aware of the directive to sell the aircraft, the presidency has a number of serviceable and unserviceable aircraft that need to be disposed of in order to reduce the amount spent by the federal government for aircraft maintenance annually.
�Nine, which still have market value, are to be sold immediately to reduce maintenance costs,” he said.
For years, the federal government has spent over N12 billion annually for the maintenance of the presidential fleet.
Although information on the exact size of the fleet is treated as classified information, the fleet, according to aviation sources, is believed to comprise about 16 aircraft, chief of which is the Boeing 738 BBJ, NAF 001 or Eagle One, used by the president for his travels.
With its luxury configuration comprising a master bedroom, washrooms and showers, a conference and dinning area, and a living area, the plane seats 25 to 50 passengers and would cost at least $100 million to replace today.
Eagle One can spend 12 hours in the air, covering 11,489 kilomtres or 6,200 nautical miles. In addition to the Boeing 733 reserved for the president, the fleet boasts two Gulfstream 550 jets. The Gulfstream 550 can seat eight to 18 passengers, depending on the configuration, and has a cruiser range of 12,501 kilometres or 6,750 nautical miles. A new luxury Gulfstream 550 would cost an estimated $53.5 million.
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