The Ministry of Aviation has announced a suspension of the importation of private jets into the country pending the renewal of the policy on private jets. This suspension affects private airplanes, helicopters and other lighter aircraft.
The suspension would continue until the formulation of a new policy on importation of private jets and helicopters.
The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joe Obi, who confirmed the development told Punch that the suspension did not affect the importation of commercial and passenger jets being used by domestic airlines.
“The domestic airlines are free to bring in their normal passenger planes. But the suspension only affects private jets. The government is trying to work on a new policy for the private jet. You will agree with me that the current policy on private jets is old, and there is a need to renew it. Pending that renewal, all applications for importation for now will have to hold on.”
When asked if there was a time frame for the lifting of the suspension, Obi said, “There is no definite time for now. It depends on when the new policy is completed. Government is working on the policy. When it is completed, every body will be informed.”
Investigations by Punch further revealed that the development was already affecting not only some wealthy Nigerians, who had ordered for private jets, but also their appointed agents helping them to handle the purchase from foreign manufacturers.
Some of them have been waiting for approval to import aircrafts from the United States, France and South Africa. Players in the private jet sub-sector said some of the prospective buyers of the private jets might lose the non-refundable deposits they had paid to the manufacturers.
The Nigerian private jet market has been one of the fastest growing in the world lately. Between 2007 and 2012, private jet ownership rose from 20 to 150.