Aircraft charter provider VistaJet plans to step up its expansion of operations across Russia, Asia, Africa and South America. By 2015, the Switzerland-based group also intends to double the size of its fleet to more than 60 jets. VistaJet is in talks with prospective partners in China and expects to have an established operation there by year-end. On January 12, the company reported that it anticipates final figures for 2011 to show a 20-percent increase in passenger numbers and a 25-percent hike in revenues. It also anticipates 50-percent growth in profits.
Nigeria now has what claims to be the West African country’s first purpose-built FBO, with the recent opening of the EAN Jet Centre at Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The 160,000-sq-ft facility was built by local company Evergreen Apple Nigeria and offers business aircraft operators a secure and private alternative to the airport’s main terminal.
Offshore oil and gas operator Bristow is divesting its holdings in Nigeria’s Pan African Airways (PAAN) to Nigerian ownership to comply with the country’s new Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act. PAAN’s helicopters, mostly Bell 412s, 407s and 206s, will now operate under separate livery and out of company and customer bases in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Escravos.
Two years ago a speedboat opened fire on a Bell 412 as it departed an oil platform. A mechanic found a bullet hole in a main rotor blade after the helicopter returned to base. The passengers and crew had no idea they had been hit.
It was just another day in Nigeria.
In response to the growing demand for business aircraft in Africa, charter operator VistaJet has launched a regional operation on the West African coast, based out of Lagos, Nigeria. The Switzerland-based company has partnered with Kola Aluko, a West Africa-based businessman and VistaJet client.
The Nigerian government will ban aircraft not equipped with an ELT after January 1, and it will not allow any aircraft lacking such a device to be registered or granted a certificate of airworthiness. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority recently announced the decision at a stakeholders’ meeting to review the search-and-rescue operation to find a Beech 1900 that crashed and disappeared over Obudu in Cross River State on March 15.
Virgin Nigeria has signed for up to 24 Embraer E-Jets worth $811 million at current list prices and is trying to persuade the manufacturer to establish a regional maintenance center for the type in Lagos.
Africa is not the easiest part of the world in which to conduct executive aviation services, which is why Landover Aviation Services was established 14 years ago to foreign operators penetrate the complex bureaucracy in the region. Since then the company has become the leading source of assistance not only in Nigeria–where it is based in Lagos, but also in many other parts of Africa.
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