The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State, will assemble Hungarian Magnus light aircraft with funding granted by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.
After this week’s Council meeting, which was held at the State House in Abuja under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, revealed this information to the media.
According to Sirika, increased demand for “spin recovery aircraft” has made it necessary to produce lightweight aircraft that are reliable for use in pilot training programmes for both military and civilian personnel.
He mentioned that the first batch of the constructed planes should take to the skies during the remaining four months of the Buhari administration.
Sirika’s comments comes 17 months after the federal government expressed interest to partner with the Hungarian aircraft manufacturing firm to establish an assembling plant for light airplanes locally.
During an inspection visit to the Magnus Aircraft Headquarters in Pogany, Hungary, in August 2021, the minister said the FG’s goal is to locally assemble aircraft “from start to finish” before the current regime ends.
“If we venture with them, we may start with assembling plants and later manufacturing,” Sirika said during his visit.
Asked why the FG chose Zaria as the assembling base, Sirika said the existing college of aviation provides a ready facility which will save the cost of building another.
He added that situating the plant in Zaria further expands the capacity of NCAT as a federal government agency.
During the briefing, Sirika also revealed that FEC approved N546.11m for the procurement and installation of Category IIIC landing system in 15 airports nationwide.
However, the installation will begin from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and the Katsina Airport.
The Cat IIIC landing system, he explained, enables pilots to land in zero-visibility conditions.
Asked about the current state of the Nigeria Air project, Sirika, declined to give detailed comments on the issue, saying it was subjudice.
However, he said there is “nothing stopping the takeoff of Nigeria Air.”
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