Recently, The African Export Import Bank and the Russian Export Centre (REC) entered into a partnership to promote aviation in Africa through facilitation of acquisition of brand new Sukhoi brand of aircraft. In this reports, ANTHONY AWUNOR writes that such deal could help increase trade and development of the industry in Africa.
The evaluation and selection of a fleet of aircraft for an airline determine the success of their operations.
Aircraft manufacturers usually represent their aircraft to their customers in the following four categories: Aircraft specifications, system configuration equipment, cabin configuration and In-flight entertainment configuration.
In Nigeria for example, certain aircraft are the most common jet type used due to one reason or the other. However, the quest to acquire cost effective aircraft has remained at the front burner
To address this major challenge, the African Export Import Bank, set up primarily as trade finance bank in Africa and the Russian Export Centre, which is the export bank of the Russian federation have entered into a strategic partnership to promote aviation in Africa.
Recently both institutions started a series of roadshows under a new partnership that is expected to raise the profile of Russian aircraft and helicopters in Africa.
The roadshows featured presentations, which showcased a range of cutting-edge Russian aircraft and helicopters, with demonstrations and flight experiences. It started in Nairobi, and continuing in Kampala, Lagos, Abuja and Bamako.
The roadshows are part of Afreximbank’s effort to improve the air transport infrastructure across Africa, given that the continent’s road and rail infrastructure suffers from significant limitations and that the aviation sector is considered critical to achieving the continent’s trade, growth and development objectives. It is estimated that a 10 per cent reduction in transport costs would increase trade by 25 per cent.
According to Afreximbank the effective movement of goods and people is fundamental to Africa’s trade, growth and development objectives.
The financial institution therefore, stated that improving air transport at both domestic, regional and international levels across the continent has become a key priority area.
Speaking during the Nigerian version of the roadshow recently, Rene Awambeng, Global head, Client Relations, Afreximbank, said the bank has entered into a strategic partnership with the Russian Export Centre, which is the export bank of the Russian federation to promote aviation in Africa, so that it can meet one of its strategic goals.
“The Russians have invested significant amount in research and development in their aircraft which are very efficient in terms of fuel consumption and are ecologically very friendly.
“We have partnered with Russian Export Centre, to provide solutions so that African entrepreneurs either private sectors, national airlines, private sectors, operators of airlines can acquire these aircraft through asset structures to meet our objective of moving people from one part of the country to another,” Awambeng said.
He explained that part of the partnership was to work with Nigerian authorities to certify the Russian aircraft to be able to operate in Nigeria, adding that the bank would enter commercial negotiations with operators of other aircraft or helicopters to see how they can acquire the aircraft and the bank can finance the acquisitions of these aircraft.
On the configurations of the aircraft, Awambeng said, “The aircraft are a blend of Italian, French and Russian technology and are very spacious. They are for regional routes. They can take up to 100 passengers in different configurations of business class and economy. The aircraft are quick in take-off and landing, which means they can service short distances.”
Nogie Meggison, chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), said airline operators in Nigeria have always asked for access to brand new aircraft, adding that with Afreximbank coming into the picture to finance it, this would open a new chapter for operators into acquisition of brand new aircraft.
“Our problems in Nigeria as carriers are our financial structure and access to markets. You cannot finance an aircraft using 26 per cent interest from the Nigerian banks. With Afreximbank coming in now to lease the aircraft, we will be required to pay just 10 to 15 per cent deposit of the actual value of the aircraft to operate the aircraft.
“With this, the cash flow immediately gets better and we will have disposable income to take shock. So you can afford to pay a six months lease or put a deposit of 10 per cent and still have cash in your pocket,” Meggison explained.
He suggested that there should be provision of spare parts, skilled engineers to provide checks and repair the aircraft and maintenance facility for the partnership to be sustained
Meanwhile, the Sukhoi range of aircraft which experts have endorsed for the Nigerian market include: Irkut MC-21, Sukhoi Superjet 100 and Russian Helicopters
The Irkut MC-21 is a Russian single-aisle twinjet airliner, developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and produced by its parent Irkut, a branch of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The initial design started in 2006 and detailed design was ongoing in 2011. After delaying the scheduled introduction from 2012 to 2020, Irkut rolled out the first MC-21-300 on 8 June 2016, and first flew the aircraft on 28 May 2017.
It has a carbon fiber reinforced polymer wing and is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G or Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans. With a capacity of 132–163 passengers in two class, up to 165–211 and up to 6,000–6,400 km (3,200–3,500 nmi) range, the standard MC-21-300 will be followed by a shortened MC-21-200.
It has 205 orders as of July 2017.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 also known by its abbreviation SSJ100, is a fly-by-wire twin-engine regional jet with 8 (VIP) to 108 (all economy) passenger seats. With development initiated in 2000, the airliner was designed and spearheaded by Sukhoi, a division of the United Aircraft Corporation, in co-operation with several foreign partners. Its maiden flight was conducted on 19 May 2008.
On 21 April 2011, the Superjet 100 undertook its first commercial passenger flight, on the Armaviaroute from Yerevan to Moscow.
Russian Helicopters is a Russian based helicopter design and manufacturing company headquartered in Moscow. The company designs and manufactures civilian and military helicopters.
The company’s principal shareholder is Oboronprom. It is the world’s 24th-largest defence contractor measured by 2012 defence revenues, and the second-largest based in Russia.
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