The Federal Government, on Monday, expressed its readiness to phase out obsolete trainer aircraft at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna State.

Speaking on the occasion of NCAT taking delivery of an aircraft, DA42NG from Interjet Nigeria limited, Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said acquisition of more aircraft as well as re-fleeting old aircraft was a commendable initiative by the college.

The Minister said, “The Federal Government is in full support of the re-fleeting of trainer aircraft at the NCAT, Zaria. The acquisition of more aircraft was a commendable initiative by the institution as well as the re-fleeting of its old aircraft used for its training”.

He also added that the Federal Government was committed to the aviation master plan across the country.

Earlier, Rector/Chief Executive of NCAT, Capt. Abdulsalam Mohammed, pointed out that 29 trainer aircraft have become old and even too expensive to fuel and maintain, adding that the latest in the fleet was bought over 15 years ago.

The Rector said, “Honourable Minister, as you already know, there are currently 29 trainer aircraft in the college. These aircraft used for ab-initio training TB 9, Trinidad TB 20 GT and Beech Baron 58 are old, the earliest being purchased 15 years, and quite expensive to fuel and maintain.

“In the light of this, the college initiated moves at refleeting its trainer aircraft. It is thrilling for us that we are gathered today to witness the culmination of that initiative.

“NCAT is acquiring a total of of 20 of these aircraft, five multi-engine DA42 and 15 single-engine DA40 trainers. Today we are taking delivery of the first DA42 multi-engine aircraft.

“These new trainer aircraft would significantly improve our flight training experience. And from the angle of cost efficiency, our analysis shows they will significantly reduce our operating cost, especially in the area of maintenance and fueling.

“They are also equipped with glass cockpit and garmin 1000, which will make it easier for our graduating pilots to transition to new generation commercial aircraft”.

Meanwhile, in his handing over speech of the DA42NG aircraft, Chief Executive Officer, Interject Nigeria limited, Mr. Seun Peters said, “We are formally handing over the first DA42NG Trainer Aircraft built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology NCAT in fulfillment of the Federal Government’s promise to phase out the old aircrafts used by the college and replace them with 20 (Twenty) brand new modern DA42 and DA40 Aircrafts.

“The re-fleeting exercise is in realization of the need to enhance the capacity of the college and save costs of purchase of aviation gasoline (avgas) and also to boost its airpower capability.

“Undoubtedly, this is a bold move to reposition NCAT into a highly professional and disciplined aviation college by making it a driving force through capacity building initiative for effectiveness and efficiency.

“The ultimate aim of the Government is therefore to retool the college to comfortably compete with other similar aviation colleges around the world.

“On our part, we appreciate the Buhari Administration for its commitment to seeing that Nigeria claims a leadership role in the aviation industry; as well as its commitment to the safety of air travelers through local training of world-class professionals”.

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