Indigenous cargo carrier, Allied Air has taken delivery of a brand new Boeing 737-800 SF aircraft which according to the airline, financiers and Federal Government will support the country in the distribution of expected COVID-19 vaccines.
The aircraft was said to have been procured for about N8 billion.
The aircraft which arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja, was received by Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefelie, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe s well as the Managing Director of Allied Air, Captain Val Thongo.
Emefelie explained that the purchase of the aircraft was facilitated through the intervention fund of the CBN via Access Bank stating that the industry was growing.
“First thank the honorable Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika for what he is doing in the aviation industry in Nigeria and we are here to commission the B737-800 aircraft which has been funded through the intervention fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through access bank and we are happy because only two or three weeks ago, the aviation minister also commissioned another aircraft for Air Peace so what does that tell us, that with the hard work of the aviation minister we can see that Nigerian aviation is picking up more and more, investment are happening in the aviation industry and only just last week, we even got a call from one of the West African countries asking that they want Allied Air to participate even in lifting currency.
“It might interest you to know that Allied Air is Central Banks own major currency lifting company.
“We need more and more investment in the area of aviation and I can assure us that CBN is ready, Nigerian banks are ready and that is why you can see one of the largest banks in Nigeria Access Bank also standing here ready as the major financier taking all the credit risk to support Access Bank,” the CBN governor said.
Also speaking on the aircraft acquisition, Sirika, expressed thanks to the CBN and Access Bank for their support stating that the country is now thinking into the future, even as he disclosed that the Federal Government was putting policies in place to make financial institutions get involved in investment opportunities like the aircraft acquisition which is an index for growth too.
“First and foremost, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Central Bank and Access Bank and we’ve seen how forward looking CBN is and how futuristic Nigeria has become; this kind of partnership is what we have been canvassing for since we assumed leadership of this industry and because you know before COVID-19 aviation grew to be the second fastest sector of the economy in 2018 and in 2019 became the fastest growing sector.
“It is activities like these with support of central bank and other financial institutions like Access Bank that has made it possible so the policy we are putting in place is okay.
“This aircraft will be dedicated to cargo and also the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, so the aircraft is ready, the cargo shed is ready and everything is ready to receive the vaccine and distribute. To Allied Air,” said Sirika.
On his part, Wigwe expressed pride to be part of the Allied Air venture, stressing that the aircraft will further increase the country’s capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive.
”We are proud to be part of this endeavour by allied air supported by the CBN and the Ministry of aviation but I think what is important is that these are little signals to show that we are coming out of a recession.
“We just visited the facility for cargo that would allow them ship things pout of the country. This shows Nigeria is opening up, we now have aircraft that would deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the entire country. Yes we receive products internationally but to distribute them across the country, now we truly have the facility to do all of that. We are very happy ,” remarked the Access Bank boss.