Federal Government plans to float an aircraft leasing company to assist in the acquisition of new aircraft for local and international operations.
This comes even as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it has launched an investigation into the cause of a fire incident which destroyed a part of the terminal building of the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo State on Monday.
The incident had created panic among passengers and airport workers forcing FAAN to shut down the Airport temporary with flights barred from landing and taking off at the airport.
Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu who disclosed this to journalists in Lagos said no life was lost as the fire was swiftly curtailed by fire fighters.
Yakubu said the airport had been reopened for normal operations. On the aircraft leasing company, the Federal Government said it was open to partnership from private firms to actualise the project.
Most airlines in Nigeria want to expand their fleets, but high financing costs and currency risks have hampered growth. Nigerian airlines’ revenues are in naira, while most of their costs are in U.S. dollars. The government said in a statement the new company would initially lease aircraft from international lessors and sub-lease them to domestic operators.
It wants the partner to be a consortium of international lessors, financial institutions and investors, and said bidders had until May 20 to show interest. The government will own a minority stake.
On Friday, Nigeria’s Medview Airline said it had been in talks with some financial institutions to raise capital and that a lack of infrastructure as well as dollar shortages were complicating its operating environment.