Left: Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor CBN, Capt Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister, Capt Val Tongo, CEO, Allied Air, Capt Musa Nuhu, Director General, NCAA, in the cargo cabin of the brand new B737-800
The leading air cargo freighter in West Africa, Nigeria’s Allied Air, has taken delivery of a brand new Boeing 737-800 converted freighter, the first by any African airline and it’s valued at a princely sum of N8billion only.
The brand new aircraft was welcomed with water cannon at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and was received by the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, Managing Director, Access Bank Group, Mr Hubert Wigwe, and the Managing Director of Allied Air, Capt. Val Tongo, among other top government dignitaries.
The aircraft was purchased through an intervention deal financed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) but structured and delivered by the Access Bank Plc.
Speaking at the brief ceremony held at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Thursday, 25th February 2021, the CEO of Allied Air, Capt. Val Tongo said the aircraft will be deployed for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Tongo revealed that to date, the cargo freighter (MSN 36846) is the newest of 737-800 in the world converted to freighter.
In his comments, the CBN Governor Mr Goodwin Emefiele said: The aircraft is funded through the intervention fund of the CBN but through the Access Bank.”
Emefiele charged other businessmen to give strong consideration to investing in the aviation sector of the national economy as the bankers committee is strongly disposed to providing capital for the air transport industry with adequate support from the CBN.
Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika said at the event that “the aircraft will be dedicated to cargo and especially to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country”.
Sirika promised that “before the vaccines arrived, the cargo shed would be ready and the aircraft would also have been certified ready for distribution.”
In his comment, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the aircraft will undergo the mandatory demonstration flight to ascertain if the cargo operator had acquired the proficiency to safely fly the aircraft.
The excited Group Managing Director, GMD, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, enthused: “We are extremely happy to be a part of this endeavour and these are little signals to show that we are coming out for air cargo.”
The banker, however, endorsed the aircraft that it’s best suited for airlifting temperature-sensitive vaccines and other specialized medical and pharmaceutical facilities.
By this acquisition, Allied Air has set a new standard in air cargo operation in terms of the fleet upgrade in the region that is dominated by ad hoc cargo operators.Share