The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has confirmed that Nigeria Air will commence operation before the end of Q1. The minister, who confirmed this in an interview posted on YouTube by AeroTime on February 2, also reiterated that Nigeria Air would launch shortly despite the ongoing litigation seeking to stop the airline.
Nigeria Air faces Litigation
The minister further confirmed that the litigation to stop Nigeria Air is the action of only five airlines, including Air Peace, Max Air, United Nigeria Airlines, Topbrass Aviation, and Azman Air, not the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).
The launch of Nigeria Air has been highly anticipated, as it marks the return of a national carrier for the country after the previous airline, Nigeria Airways, was dissolved in 2003. The new airline aims to improve air connectivity within Nigeria and to other international destinations.
On the process of making the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, operational, the minister said;
“Nigeria Air will launch shortly. There is a process to having an airline, and that process is driven by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The process comes in different phases for those processes to happen.
Being a PPP, it has to go through Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) by establishing a consulting firm and transaction advisers to make a business case and to know if it is a viable project, and that has been done. It took two years, and the Outline Business Case was produced and approved by ICRC and then taken to the Federal Executive Council, which was also approved.”
Nigeria Air will promote competition
The launch of Nigeria Air is expected to bring about much-needed competition in the country’s aviation sector and provide passengers with more options and better services. It is also seen as a key step towards fulfilling Nigeria’s vision of becoming a major player in the global aviation industry.
The minister, in his statement, also gave a breakdown of shares owned by each partner;
“Before now, we went to the public to invite bidders, which is a procurement process. The process ended up having Ethiopian Airlines as the partner with 49 percent, 5 percent for the government of Nigeria, and 46 percent for Nigerian entrepreneurs and companies coming together to own the rest. They have applied for Air Transport Licence (ATL), which is being issued, and now they are applying for AOC, and the process has gone very far.”
Nigeria Air is expected to bring about increased economic growth and employment opportunities for the country and help to boost tourism, and enhance Nigeria’s image as a hub for trade and commerce in Africa.
The minister gave his assurance by stating ;
“I believe in the next one or two weeks from today; they should be able to get the AOC issued, which will signal the beginning of the carrier flying. We have worked for the past six years to establish it, and we took this long because we wanted to be diligent.
So, I think the airline is on its way coming, and it will be soon. It will be launched within this quarter, and it will be flying within this quarter, and it will give Nigerians the service that has been eluding them.”
The return of a national carrier for Nigeria is a significant milestone and marks a new chapter in the country’s aviation history. The launch of Nigeria Air is sure to be watched closely by the aviation industry and travel enthusiasts alike.
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