Luxury jet tax axed

image005It is difficult to ignore the tens of millions of Nigerians who cannot afford commercial air travel, not to mention owning aircraft.

Nigeria is achieving steady economic growth but the general perception is that few are benefiting from this boom apart from its more than 500 people with estimated assets of above $50m.

You can sometimes see five or six cars at the same time to receive one person”

Peter de WaalExecuJet Aviation Nigeria

For those who are not quite able to afford their own planes, Nigeria’s chartered flights business is also booming, attracting international companies such as Hanger8 and VistaJet.

The growth of the air transport industry and the economy has led business aviation manufacturers like Beechcraft Corporation into the African market, with Nigeria as a key focus.

image007“We have seen a large number of deliveries of business aircraft across the continent over the past decade,” say Scott Plumb, Beechcraft’s vice-president of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“We fully expect this trend to continue as a greater number of entrepreneurs and corporate entities seek to take advantage of the benefits of business air travel on the back of Africa’s strong economic growth.”

Cultural peculiarities also make it to the runway, with huge entourages of friends and aides swarming around Nigeria’s larger-than-life VIPs.

“You can sometimes see five or six cars at the same time to receive one person,” Mr De Waal says.

In October 2013, the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority introduced a luxury tax of about $3,000 for every departure of a private jet.

The jet owners responded by saying it was unfair and the senate soon ordered a suspension of the levy – a sign of the political influence of Nigeria’s wealthy businessmen and women.

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Edition 51March 2014

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