Aircraft Acquisition for Airlines: FG May Select Embraer
The Federal Government may select the Embraer aircraft manufacturing company for the planned acquisition of 30 aircraft for Nigerian airlines, findings have revealed.
The selection is an alternative to provision of intervention fund, to enhance the Nigerian airlines’ capacity and consolidation in their operations.
An inside source and technical expert in the industry said on Wednesday that coming from Brazil, a third world country, Embraer is more attuned to doing business in Africa.
While comparing Embraer and Bombardier, the source said, “Well, it depends on what you want. But let me use what you know to describe what you may not know. Your question is like asking between Mercedes and Toyota cars which is better.
“To answer well your respondent would want to know the purpose you want to use the car. For super luxury your respondent may recommend a Mercedes, but for high utility and ease of maintenance he is likely to recommend a Toyota brand.
“In this case Embraer and Bombardier just like Toyota and Mercedes are reliable manufacturers. But when you compare airplanes per class Embraer series are less expensive to purchase and operate than a Bombardier of the same class, but a Bombardier would be more luxurious.
“So, I think in the case at hand, the Ministry, having studied the difficulties most of the airlines in Nigeria are facing, came to the conclusion that a less expensive to purchase and operate airplane would help operators overcome the challenges of unprofitability.
“Therefore, placing a Bombardier and an Embraer choice before the Ministry, they will ordinarily, first, consider that the Boeing 737 series are being discouraged on the local routes due to the associated high operational cost. Then in the two choices before them (Bombardier and Embraer), one would simply consider that which is less expensive to purchase and operate,” the source added.
The source further explained that in terms of manufacturer's support, Brazil, the home of Embraer, is about six flight hours, while Canada/Bombardier stands at about ten flight hours from Nigeria.
“Again on attitudinal disparity, a third world country like Brazil is more likely to respect a Nigerian than a Canadian would, in terms of transfer of technology assuming a more serious technology transfer is intended in the long run…all these in my opinion points to why the Ministry would pitch tent with Embraer.”
But other industry experts say that Bombardier aircraft are high quality aircraft, a fact that has been testified by private aircraft operators who have Bombardier jets and Arik Air, which has been operating Bombardier regional aircraft, CRJ 900 and their turboprops, Q400.
Chairman of Arik Air, Joseph Arumemi–Ikhide, said on Monday that Bombardier aircraft are very stable in the air; very comfortable, adding that Bombardier products are very good so the airline has plans to acquire more Bombardier aircraft types.
But Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joe Obi, said that the Ministry of Aviation was yet to choose the aircraft manufacturer that would deliver the aircraft, admitting that Embraer, Bombardier, and Boeing are still under consideration.
“Embraer is one of the aircraft manufacturing company we are considering; to say that it has been selected, I cannot say for now. We are still negotiating. I am not aware that it has been selected. We are looking for the best deal; the one that will provide maintenance of the aircraft, have the right type of equipment. We are still talking with the people,” he said