Aircraft maintenance facility
One of Nigeria’s major airlines, Aero Contractors may provide the much needed succour for domestic aircraft maintenance as it plans to commence third party C check.
It could be recalled that last year the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) approved Aero as an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) for “A” and “B” checks on Boeing aircraft, various levels of checks on other airplanes.
With that certification, Aero intends to expand existing hangar to enable it meet the requirements of aircraft maintenance work including third party work so that it would be able to service the West African sub-region market for third party maintenance work, provide employment opportunities, training and staff enhancement programmes for employees.
The Managing Director of Aero, Captain. Akin George, noted however, that not so much would be saved even when major maintenance is carried out locally because there is heavy taxation on aircraft and its parts; that every part that is imported to be fixed in Nigeria would also be taxed, so this diminishes whatever gain that should accrue on the advantage of having maintenance facility locally.
“Nigeria has relatively high import duties on aircraft parts. Airlines typically fly their aircraft to, say, Turkey to have them serviced and relevant parts replaced. Once that aircraft flies back to Nigeria, the new parts are not subject to import duties as they are already installed on the plane.
“This puts any Nigerian maintenance provider in a big disadvantage against foreign players. A Nigerian maintenance provider would need to import all spares used in maintenance and thus incur the import duties that those maintaining their aircraft abroad avoid completely.”
George said the resolution to this issue could be either that spares imported as installed on a plane were subject to import duty, or that Nigerian maintenance businesses would get import duty relief.
“If Nigeria ever wants to allow for aircraft maintenance business to develop in Nigeria, it needs to create a level playing field between domestic and foreign operations. Right now, Nigeria is subsidising maintenance businesses abroad and as a result is not allowing the same business develop in Nigeria.”