The Fate of Nigeria’s Abandoned Aircraft

Faced with 65 major commercial jetliners that were abandoned in place at its Airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) after years of litigation with the owners of the craft issued an ultimatum stating that the owners must remove the planes or they would be cut up and sold for scrap. This is the fifth such ultimatum issued over the past four years, but unlike the last four times, this time it would appear that FAAN is finally making good on their threat; crews began the demolition and removal process last week.

Many of these planes have been sitting for years or even decades and still bear the livery of their bankrupt Nigerian airlines like Bellview Airlines, Space World, Capital Airlines, EAS Airlines, Dasab Airlines and Fresh Air, however the FAAN has been unsuccessful in their attempts to force the removal of these eyesores and more than just being an aesthetic issue these derelict planes are providing nesting sites for birds which increases bird strike risks and are taking up space at the airport that could otherwise be used for operable airliners.

The planes run the gamut from from Fokker F28’s and Embraer 100s to Boeing 727’s and 737s. Many of the planes have been scavenged for parts and are no longer airworthy.

Suggestions had been made for alternative uses for the airliners most notably the Project Director of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria, who proposed creating a museum documenting the history of the Nigerian airline industry. More fanciful suggestions would have the planes turned into hotels, playground equipment, boats, homes and restaurants. However given that the demolition has commenced it would appear that the planes will be ending up as soda cans.

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