Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Determined to avert the frequent multiple failure of air craft components within its fleet, the Nigerian Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) on F riday said it was set to receive the first set of the three newly ordered aircra f t by the end of November, Fleet Commander, Air Commodore Adesola Amosu, said her e while receiving Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar.
According to Amosu, it became imperative to replace the over 20-year-old ageing aircraft in its inventory in order to avert the frequent multiple failures.
Amosu told Umar, who spent 16 years of his career in the presidential fleet, tha t the problem of component and parts failure was the reason President Goodluck J o nathan's official aircraft â" NAF 001 â" developed problem after it taxied for takeoff at the Entebbe international airport in Uganda 28 July after the 15th Af r ican Union summit.
He noted: "the older an aircraft gets, the more likely its components and parts will fail.
And we have experienced multiple failures of Falcon 900 engines withi n the last one year.
We believe that the federal government's decision to replace the ageing aircraft in the fleet at this time is laudable.
" Amosu said apart from component failures, ageing aircraft could cause increased maintenance down time, escalating cost of maintenance, difficulty in obtaining s p are parts and issue of airworthiness and certification.
According to him, "in 2007, the Falcon 900 (5N-FGO) spent eight months on mainte nance while the Falcon (5N-FGE) spent about 12 months on maintenance in 2008.
Th e two Falcon 900Bs in the unit have had multiple engine failures within the last o ne year.
Additionally, the Gulfstream IV spent about six months on maintenance i n 2008 and about four months in 2009.
And the cost of maintaining the ageing airc r aft in the Fleet was increasing more significantly on an annual basis due to the need for more in-depth maintenance required to keep them airworthy.
"For instance, the maintenance due on the Gulfstream IV is expected to cost betw een US$ 3 million-US$ 5 million.
The government has spent over US$ 4.
8 million o n this aircraft in the last two years.
Additionally, we spent over US$ 4.
8 millio n on one of the Falcon 900 aircraft in 2008 while the second aircraft gulped a si m ilar amount the following year.
" He also said that manufacturers were no longer producing parts that fit the agei ng planes.
The PAF Commander said that "with the acquisition of the new aircraft, the Fleet had fully entered into the regime of long-range operations.
By implications, it is now one stop to any destination in the world.
" Amosu also confirmed that President Goodluck Jonathan had given directives for t he construction of a protective hanger for the newly-acquired aircraft so as to " provide security for the new aircraft against sabotage and harsh weather conditi o n".
Under the acquisition plan, a G550 has been acquired to replace the old Gulfstre am IV; two Falcon 7X will replace Falcon 900Bs.
The Hawker 4000XP is being tippe d to replace the fourth aircraft, the HS.
While the G550 and the Falcon 7Xs are awaiting delivery, the process of acquirin g the fourth aircraft is expected to be completed by early next year.
The Presidential Air Fleet is responsible for the safe passage of Mr.
President, the Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and other top government officials.
The fleet has a total of 10 aircraft, comprising of one Boeing Business Jet (BBJ ), which is reserved for Mr.
President, a Gulfstream V (GV), reserved for the Vi c e President, and another Gulfstream IV (GIV), two Falcon 900Bs, one HS.
125-800, o ne Dornier 228, two configured AugustaWestlan AW helicopters and one Augusta 109 E helicopter, recently approved by the Chief of the Air Staff to aid the Presiden t 's movement.