By Lawani Mikairu
LAGOS—AS part of its, efforts at improving the air transport infrastructure across Africa, the African Import Export Bank, Afreximbank and the Russian Export Center, REC, Wednesday, began a roadshow in Lagos under a new partnership that would raise the profile of Russian aircraft and helicopters in Africa and enable Nigerian airline operators access financial support and facility to acquire brand new aircraft.
This is just as Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Captain Nogie Meggison said the intervention of Afreximbank is a welcome development in the Nigeria aviation sector. The roadshow, which featured presentations, showcased a range of cutting-edge Russian aircraft and helicopters, with demonstrations and flight experiences, over the next five days, started in Nairobi, Kampala in Uganda, Lagos, will continue in Abuja and end in Bamako, Mali.
Rene Awambeng, Afreximbank’s Global Head for Client Relations said: “Our partnership with the Russian Export Centre gives key players in Africa’s aviation industry tremendous opportunities. The 17-year average fleet age of African airlines is the oldest of any world region, and by showcasing state-of-the-art and more fuel-efficient aircraft, and the newest helicopters, together with our expertise and experience in aircraft finance, we can enable the upgrading of Africa’s aviation industry.”
“This upgrade is a key element in boosting economies and many industry sectors. We look forward to conversations with authorities and the aviation industry to discuss their development plans and identify areas where they require funding and technical assistance.”
Meanwhile, Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Captain Nogie Meggison said the intervention of AfreximBank is a welcome development. He said: “We have always asked that we have access to brand new aircraft. With AfreximBank coming into the picture to finance it, it opens a new chapter for us into acquisition of brand new aircraft”.
“ Our problems in Nigeria as carriers are our financial structure and access to markets. You cannot finance an aircraft like this using 26percent from the Nigerian banks. With AfreximBank coming in now, to lease the aircraft, we will be asked a 10 to 15percent deposit of the actual value of the aircraft. The cash flow immediately gets better and we will have disposable income to take shock. So you can afford to pay a six months lease or put a deposit of 10percent and still have cash in your pocket”, he added.