BY JIMOH BABATUNDE
An aviation company AdoAir, owned by a Nigerian based in South Africa, has won a luxury aircrafts supply and maintenance contract worth R808mn ($1.2bn) or NGN18.0bn from the South African Air Force (SAAF).
The deal covering a period of five years was sealed after a competitive bidding process involving five other companies. The South African Department of Defence last week said the leased (Embraer Executive Jets) will supplement its depleting Air Force VIP squadron and will come with computer and satellite communication services, a conference cabin for about six people and resting quarters for top government functionaries on board.
The Spokesman for the South African Department of Defence Ndivhuwo wa ha Mabaya said last weekend that the ageing air transport fleet has made it necessary for the government in Pretoria to charter flights for VIP air transport and has been expensive.
Mabaya said the present fleet of VIP planes are “very old and we don’t have the money to buy new planes.” The new Embraer luxury jets will be used when the Presidential jet, Inkwazi, is undergoing maintenance. The South African government spent a total of 16.9mn Rands last year on chartered flights for high-government officials.
AdoAir Aviation Group was formed in 2005 by Adegboyega Olulade, the founder of the Adonai Group with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. AdoAir Group operates out of Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Chairman of AdoAir Group, Adegboyega Olulade said in a statement on Monday that the multi_million Dollar deal represents a vote of confidence of the South African government in the abilities and competence of Nigerian businessmen operating in the country. Olulade said the aircraft contract is a further testimony to the existing mutually beneficial economic ties between South Africa and Nigeria.
The business lines between the two largest economies in Sub_Saharan Africa have grown tremendously in recent years, especially since the advent of civilian democracy in South Africa in 1994 and in Nigeria in 1999.