Key Details Behind President Tinubu’s Use of a Chartered Flight to South Africa Revealed

images 2024 06 20T071650.568


New insights have revealed the reasons behind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s use of a chartered aircraft to fly to Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, where he attended the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second term in office.

Sources within the government said the President hired a private jet due to the poor state of the presidential jet, Nigerian Air Force 001.

It was further revealed that the 737 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), which is over 20 years old, is undergoing a C-Check and was unavailable for the trip. Other planes in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) are also undergoing routine maintenance and were not in good condition to make the journey.

The source said: “The President took a chartered plane to South Africa because most of the aircraft in PAF are currently undergoing routine maintenance because of their poor condition.

“The 737 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) being used by Mr. President is also affected. The plane is more than 20 years old.

“None of the other jets in the fleet could be recalled from where they are undergoing check to fly the President to South Africa.

“Technically, the aircraft which flew the President to Lagos for Eid-el Kabir was not fit enough to make the shuttle to the inauguration of the South African President.

“President Tinubu does not derive pleasure in flying about in a chartered jet. What will he gain? But when it comes to technical audit of the aircraft of PAF, safety is a top priority. It is better to mitigate any risk than aggravating it.”

It can be recalled that weeks ago, Vice President Kashim Shettima’s trip to the United States was aborted due to a faulty official jet.

The Presidential Fleet is managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The fleet consists of 10 aircraft, including six jets and four helicopters. They are Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcons 7X, HS 4000, two Agusta 139 and two Agusta 101. However, none were deemed fit for the South Africa trip.

President Tinubu has been considering reducing the fleet from 10 to seven aircraft as part of cost-saving measures, with the 737 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), Falcon, and Embraer jets likely to be retired.

The Federal Government has spent over N80 billion on the Presidential Fleet since 2016, with the presidency allocating N25.7 billion in the 2023 budget.