The federal government is to buy 20 aircraft to equip Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria and make it a centre of excellence.
Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, confirmed in Abuja, yesterday, that NCAT had also taken delivery of a brand new Diamond DA24NG for training of its students, and plans to acquire additional 19 trainer aircrafts.
Speaking at the occasion of taking delivery of the aircraft in NCAT, Zaria, the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Serika said the purchase of the aircraft for training came because the existing ones are very expensive to maintain.
He also pledged to assist the College in its plan to purchase a total of 20 trainer aircraft to face off the existing 29 outdated ones.
Speaking at the occasion, the Rector, NCAT, Abdulsalam Mohammed said, “Today, we are taking delivery of one Diamond Aircraft DA42NG from Interjet Nigeria Limited, the representatives of Diamond Aircraft Industries, Austria. For us in NCAT, this is a very momentous day. We count this a great achievement.
‘‘We pride ourselves as an aviation training centre of excellence. NCAT is among the very few aviation training colleges in the world (and only in Africa) that conducts comprehensive aviation training by having all the core aviation professional fields on single campus,’’ he said.
Speaking further, he noted that “there are currently 29 trainer aircraft in the college and these aircraft used for training TB9, Trinidad TB20GT and Beech Baron 58 are old, the earliest being purchased 15 years ago and quite expensive to fuel and maintain.
“NCAT is acquiring a total of 20 of these aircraft, five -engine DA42 and 15 single-engine D4-40 trainers. Today, we are taking delivery of the first DA 42 multi-engine aircraft.
“These new trainer aircraft would significantly improve out 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 maintenance and fuelling. 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.”
Also speaking, the representative of Interjet, Seun Peters urged the federal government to support NCAT in funding of the remaining 19 aircraft and noted that Interjet and Diamond plan to build standard maintenance center in Abuja.
Meanwhile, after successful rehabilitation work on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has identified the concession of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and three others, as the next big project.
Senator Sirika, disclosed this in a media forum in Benue state, during the induction of mi-35m gunships by President Muhammadu Buhari, following a partnership agreement between the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Air force on airport security, research and training programmes.
The minister urged Nigerians to trust the Federal Government in protecting their interest, as was the case with the Abuja Airport runway project.
He also stressed that four airports including: Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano, are not up for sale but concession.
He made the known few days after domestic flights resumed operations at the Abuja Airport, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the aviation industry have applauded the Federal Government for the timely completion of the airport runway.
Airlines, passengers, cargo handlers, cab operators have also expressed delight over the way and manner government handled the Abuja airport rehabilitation without delays.