With the recovery of business aviation in the mature Western markets of Europe and North America still sketchy, Africa has emerged as one of the bright spots of growth, and the jewel in the crown is Nigeria, where oil and gas production has been the principal driver behind a massive growth in business traffic. The rise of the sector in Nigeria has been phenomenal, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. That was the abiding message from the second Nigerian Business Aviation Conference, which was held in Lagos at the end of March.
The second annual Nigerian Business Aviation Conference, to be held in Lagos on March 27-28, is expected to see increased attendance, reflecting the west African country’s position as a hot-spot for industry growth. New topics such as an aircraft owner’s panel and a discussion of the aviation needs of the oil and gas sector have been added to an agenda that already covers topics such as regulator issues and aircraft finance.
Flight crews planning trips to Nigeria are being urged to verify fuel availability at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA) and at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM). On July 24 both airports were reported to be extremely short of jet-A. The reason for the shortage has not been identified, nor has the date when supplies might return to normal.
Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN, Booth 2135) announced here at EBACE that it has signed a representation agreement with Gulfstream Aerospace. This announcement comes just a week and a half after the closing of a successful Nigerian business aviation conference, the country’s first, hosted by EAN. The company is the first fully integrated FBO, maintenance and hangar facility for business jets to open at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.
The first Nigerian Business Aviation Conference, hosted last week by Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) in Lagos, was deemed a “resounding success” by the organizers, delegates and speakers. More than 100 delegates attended the event, which was intended to raise awareness of the growing business aviation industry in Nigeria.
Business aviation traffic at Lagos International Airport has increased almost three-fold over the past couple of years, according to Evergreen Apple Nigeria, which opened the west African country’s first purpose-built FBO in 2011. According to managing director and CEO Segun Demuren, average monthly movements numbered 82 in 2011, but that number this year stands at 220. Now the company competes with ExecuJet Aviation, which opened its own facility at the airport last year.
Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority is expected to issue new regulations governing business and private aviation that, for the first time, are separate from those covering commercial air transport. Pending introduction of the new policy, which could be issued within two or three months, the government has temporarily suspended the importation of business aircraft.
New en route air traffic control radar for the Nigerian flight information region should be operational by April 12, according to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). A NAMA spokesman said a considerable number of air traffic controllers have already been trained in preparation for the new Lagos and Kano sectors opening for live traffic. The implementation of new voice communications has also been completed at 13 airports in Nigeria.
Business aircraft movements at Lagos-based Evergreen Apple Nigeria have more than doubled from a year ago to an average of 15 daily movements. Flights arriving at the African FBO are predominantly coming from Europe as business executives enter Nigeria. Arrivals from the Middle East are also increasing, it added. Driving the growth is expansion of the oil and gas energy industries, which have attracted renewed interest from European companies.
China and Nigeria have recently granted maintenance organization (AMO) designations to Gulfstream Aerospace’s Appleton, Wis. service center. The approvals allow aircraft registered with the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to use the MRO facility.
“Foreign authorizations are important to our customers, particularly from countries such as China, where our fleet has grown from zero to more than 40 in about 11 years,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream Product Support.
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