The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddiq Abubakar, has renewed the commitment of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) to support Federal Government’s policy thrust of providing security in the country.
Abubakar made the remark at the handing over ceremony of three reactivated L-39 ZA aircraft held at the 403 Flying Training School of the Nigeria Air Force Kano on Friday.
He said the reactivation of the three aircraft was part of efforts to ensure that the 403 FTS School was operating at the optimum level.
According to him, it will also help achieve the purpose for which the flying school was established.
“The handing over ceremony of the three reactivated L-39ZA aircraft; NAF 352, NAF 354 and NAF 364, marks a positive turning point in our efforts to ensure that the NAF is able to sustain jet training of our potential pilots in this school.
“The support provided by the Federal Government has no doubt had a positive impact on the ability of the NAF to meet the operational needs and requirements of the Armed Forces.
“It has also enhanced our efficiency and improved provision of welfare and other services to our personnel,” he said.
He assured that the NAF would continue to provide conducive atmosphere for learning in view of the fact that it is key to ensuring that students gain the maximum benefits of passing through training institutions.
Abubakar noted that the handing over of the three reactivated L-39ZA aircraft also marked another milestone in NAF efforts to ensure that the 403 Flying Training School operates at its optimum.
“In addition, let me state that the reactivation of this aircraft and the decision to carry it out in-country is part of our overall objective to domicile all our maintenance and training activities locally.
“The domiciling of the maintenance and training locally will enable the NAF make huge foreign exchange savings which can then be channelled towards providing additional facilities to enhance NAF’s training and maintenance efforts,’’ he said.
Abubakar commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the priority given to NAF efforts to maintain its current platforms and equipment as well as the support given to the NAF to acquire new platforms.
He also appreciated the efforts and dedication of the team of technicians from Messrs Aero Vodochody for ensuring the delivery of the project within the stipulated time frame.
Earlier, the Ambassador of Czech Republic to Nigeria, Marek SKOLIL, said for 33 years now the L-39ZA aircraft had proved to be rugged, reliable and pilot-friendly platform, used for training several generations of Nigerian Air Force pilots.
He said Aero Vodochody, the company which manufactured the aircraft, celebrated 100 years of its existence and aircraft production.
“This company was able to manufacture and deliver to the world’s Air Forces more than 8,700 trainer jets, which to date logged more than 13 million flying hours and trained tens of thousands military pilots in 45 countries worldwide,” he said.
NAN reports that highlights at the occasion include the rolling out of one of the reactivated aircraft from the hanger and aerial display.