Nigeria’s minister of aviation and aerospace refloats leasing idea

Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace reaffirmed Nigeria’s desire to establish an aircraft leasing company in the country.

Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace during the Aviation Africa in Abuja event last week.

Keyamo said the idea is to attract foreign investors and he gave assurances the government will protect their interests and uphold its international obligations as a signatory of the Cape Town Convention.

With access to US dollars extremely difficult for Nigerian carriers the idea of a local player that could lease aircraft in the country’s national currency the naira would enable carriers to add capacity more easily.

In general, African carriers are heavily penalised in terms of access to aircraft on the leasing market, with the global lessors often reluctant to operate in what is perceived as a risky market, explained Manny Kanabe of consultancy African Partners Africa. They also pay a premium compared to airlines in less risky regions.

The African Export-Import Bank is seeking to provide more help with financing and loan guarantees and has taken part in several aircraft transactions over recent years, said Derin Fajuyitan, senior manager projects & asset based finance at the bank.

The bank is also hosting a meeting in October to discuss the African aircraft leasing project to see what role it could play in that venture, she added.