Springfountain, Boeing seal deal to invest $20bn in Nigerian aviation industry
Nigeria’s leading aviation infrastructure firms, Springfountain, and aircraft manufacturers, the Boeing Company USA, on Monday signed a strategic agreement to invest about $20bn in the Nigerian aviation industry.
The agreement was sealed in Lagos between the Managing Director of Springfountain, Mrs. Tokunbor Fagbemi and Mr. Larry Tolliver, Head of Sales, West and Central Africa, the Boeing Company.
In her remarks after the signing, Fagbemi said the proposed investment would be carried out through the African Aircraft Leasing Company, OEM Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre, African Aircraft Spare Parts Company and Aggregated Services Solutions.
While explaining that it would cover aircraft leasing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, spares logistics and supply, as well as aggregated services solutions, Fagbemi noted that the absence of such facilities and services in Africa were some of the major challenges faced by the Nigerian airlines and the aviation sector.
According to her, “We, as dynamic Nigerians and as patriotic citizens of this great nation have made Nigeria our first port of call to situate, subject to provision of all the necessary enabling environment, free of the risk of expropriation.
“We believe that through this venture, we would have added our quota to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out, as African aviation is gathering momentum and countries within Africa are repositioning, developing culture, business, economy etc, around aviation and increased intra-continental air connectivity.’’
She added that the facilities and services will require the local skills in diverse fields ranging from piloting, aviation engineering, aviation economics and aviation law, thereby creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.
She, appealed to the Nigerian government to make travel affordable and convenient for the Nigerian masses, noting that the country only had 15 million domestic and foreign travellers, out of a population of 180 million.
She said “We want to work with government and the aviation industry to bring brand new aircraft which hopefully will bring down the cost of operations for operators and bring down the cost of airfare for passengers in Africa.
“We, therefore, call on government to facilitate the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the African Union Declaration 2063,’’ Fagbemi said.
In his reactions, Tolliver said the partnership was aimed at improving Boeing’s services to its clients, adding that Springfountain had demonstrated sufficient commitment towards making it a success.
Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, congratulated Springfountain on the attainment of the strategic relationship with Boeing, saying the partnership was expected to bring in innovative solutions that would assist in solving major issues bedevilling the Nigerian aviation industry.
Sirika, represented by Capt. Sidi Abdullahi, Director of Operations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said “With the commitment of Boeing in Nigeria and the right quality of Nigerian human resources, there will be job creation and wealth retention in Nigeria”.
In an interview, the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said the establishment of the MRO facility would help domestic airlines save up to $500m annually and noted that “This is what we have been yearning for in Nigeria and I am calling on the government to ensure that this dream becomes a reality by supporting this partnership”.