The minister has mandated airlines acquiring aircraft to also work with the Original Equipment Manufacturer to set up a maintenance facility locally to service the aircraft.
Onyema commended the new Aviation Minister at the 7th edition of the Aviation Africa Summit on September 14, 2023, while signing a firm order for 5 brand new Embraer 175 jets valued at 288.3m USD.
He said: “The Honourable Minister has just scored a first in just a month of being appointed. He called me in two weeks ago and said, going forward, any Nigerian airline that wants to bring in brand new planes must also think of maintenance responsibility for those planes in-house and within Nigeria.
“He made it compulsory that if you are going into the acquisition of more than 20 aircraft, you must show evidence that the OEM is also going to support the setting up of a maintenance centre in Nigeria for the local maintenance of such planes and for third parties too because you know the amount of billions we export outside the country for doing maintenance.
“Part of the things signed today is the setting up of a maintenance capability in Nigeria. We are going to have a maintenance centre in Nigeria with Embraer’s support. That will be set up in due course, so that all these fleets of Embraer jets will be maintained in Nigeria. So, I thank the Honourable Minister for leading this. That is why I said he scored ‘a first’. This is what we talk about somebody working without vested interests. Someone whose interest is for the good of the nation.
“This new maintenance initiative is good for this country, West Africa and the entire Africa and it is good for the world because sometimes you find airlines from America bringing their planes down here for maintenance whenever they have a glut over there.
He stated that setting up local maintenance facilities would help Nigeria’s reserves and the airlines in Nigeria and West Africa to conserve their meagre forex. Onyema thanked the DG, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, for the regulator’s top-notch oversight over the years making Nigerian skies the safest in the world, adding that “whatever thing you hear to the contrary is as a result of stigmatisation because of the money they get from insurance out of us”.