The growing penchant for private jets acquisition has cost wealthy Nigerians a sum of $6.5bn (N1.02tn) in the last five years. Aviation sources reveal that the luxury trend, which rose by 650 per cent between 2007 and 2012, is encouraged among the rich by the need for privacy, fear of insecurity and the urgency required by modern business.
Private jet ownership in Nigeria has grown by 650 per cent, from 20 jets in 2007 to over 150 jets in 2012.
According to documents sighted in aviation agencies, the development means that wealthy Nigerians acquired, at least, 130 private jets with a sum of N1.02tn ($6.5bn) within the last five years.
This put the private jets aviation market in Nigeria (the monetary value of all private jets in the country) at N1.18tn ($7.5bn), using $50m as the average cost of each brand new private jet.
A private jet goes for between $40m and $65m, according to the websites of major private jets manufacturers, like Bombardier of Canada; GulfStream and Hawker Siddley of United States; and Embraer of Brazil.
According to findings, the common brands of private jets in Nigeria are Gulfstream 450, 550 and 650; Bombardier Challenger 604, 605; Global Express; Embraer Legacy and Falcons; and Hawker Siddley 125-800 and 900XP.
Top aviation officials told our correspondent on Friday that Nigeria currently rivalled China as one of the two fastest growing private jet markets in the world.
An official with in-depth knowledge of the situation, who spoke under condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the matter, said most of the jets were bought by top politicians, oil magnates and other business moguls in Nigeria.
He explained that the economic downturn in Europe and the United States had made Nigeria and China to become two of the fastest growing private jet markets in the world.
He said, “Two countries buying private jets now are China and Nigeria. Europe and America are going through turmoil; so, their people are no more buying. This accounts for the trend that whenever some of the private jet manufacturers develop any new jet, they take them to Nigeria and China.”
“The private jets in Nigeria are owned by top politicians, oil magnates and business moguls. It is difficult to get the real identities of owners of some of the private jets in Nigeria because they buy them through some foreign companies in North America, especially the US. The foreign company then leases it to another company in Nigeria.”
Investigation by our correspondent also revealed that there were still several private jets on order by wealthy Nigerians. Some of the jets, it was learnt, would be delivered this year, while others would be delivered in 2013 and 2014.