The federal government has finalised arrangements towards the local assemblage of Magnus aircraft in the country within the next 18 months.

Already, a N2.2 billion contract has been awarded for the aircraft assembly to be sited in Zaria, Kaduna State with two of such aircraft to be ready before the end of the present administration in May, this year.

Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known Wednesday while speaking with newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja.

He disclosed that his ministry presented two memoranda bordering on the local assemblage of Magnus aircraft and review of the cost of Instrument Landing System (ILS) in three airports by an additional N546.1 billion.

“We had two memoranda in Council. The first one is the procurement and assemblage of Magnus Centennial aircraft and stimulator in Zaria.

“So I’m happy to announce today is the reality. We will indeed assemble the Magnus aircraft and will continue to do so in not too distant future by God’s grace. 

“The industry of civilization will begin to manufacture right here in the country aircraft. But while beginning by assembling these training aircraft, it will happen very soon. 

“So, the memoranda has been passed in Council. The manufacturer of the airplane is based in Hungary, and has local company called Ingenious to be done in Zaria. And the total contract sum is N2,296,897,404 with the completion period of 18 months.

“I need to explain this airplane, so the world of civil aviation stopped in its training programme. The spin and spin recovery, spin literally means to spin something in an unusual altitude that our club go through. And therefore students are taught to identify when they get into spin situation, and how to recover out of the situation before it becomes a disaster. 

“We were all trained like that as pilots. But because airplanes became more and more technologically advanced, the need for spin and spin recovery didn’t arise, because they’re becoming more and more sophisticated. But again, they all realize that we still get into spin or there is a need for this skill to be developed for recovery out of spin situation.

“So most of the manufacturers stopped producing trainers for that purpose. And so there are not many people now that do that manufacture. 

“And the company in Messrs Maganus, realized that gap started to produce airplanes that can get into spin and out of it, so that students can be trained on that. And because of our maximum attention to safety, we believe that this should come back into training in Nigeria, even the United States of America who, at some point stopped, now are back to training students on this spinner spin recovery.

“So this airplane is fully aerobotic, goes into aerobatics. And I think the Nigerian Air Force and the Air Force around the region will be interested and excited by this development, we are taking the lead in civil aviation .

“It is our intention to produce them here, assemble them here. So this will happen, and I think the first one or two aircraft will happen, the assemblage here in Nigeria and to fly them within the remaining four months that we have as a government. So it’s another item that is ticked on our plate, and to which we remain grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.”

The minister also disclosed that FEC also approved the memorandum that revised the estimated total cost and augmentation, contract for procurement and installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) in three airports namely Port Harcourt International Airport, Kano International Airport and Katsina Airport. 

He explained that the contract, which was awarded earlier, had to be reviewed due to fluctuations in foreign exchange.