Nigeria Air has been approved by the Federal Executive Council to lease three aircraft, signalling the start of the airline’s operations.

Aviation Minister Announces Commencement of Nigeria Air

In a briefing with State House journalists this Wednesday, Aviation Minister for the Federal Republic of Nigeria Hadi Sirika, announced that the government was moving forward in creating a national carrier. Despite failing to offer an exact date for the commencement of operations, Sirika assured reporters that Nigeria Air was on the right track.

“We are starting with three aircraft for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeings because every airline that will grow big uses the two.”

Sirika stated that the airline would grow gradually, beginning with domestic flights, then regional, before finally expanding internationally.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika stands smiling in front of coloured lights
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has confidence for Nigeria Air © Nigeria Travel Smart

Concerns over Nigeria Air’s Past

The trajectory of Nigeria Air, however, has been inconsistent and extensively criticised by commentators. After suspending operations in 2018 and changing the re-launch date numerous times, few are confident in the success of this project.

Additionally, the Federal Government owns only five percent stake in the airline, with the general public owing 46% and unnamed international partner airlines taking up 49%. As a stakeholder speaking to The Guardian noted, the project seems poorly managed and is being rushed without the proper finances or logistics. He stated:

“Who starts an airline first and then begins to search for bidders? We have been at this junction since 2018. What is the hurry all about in this season of politics? If it is another political dummy, it will not fly,”

 

Economic Hurdles for Nigeria Air

The economic climate in which Nigeria Air is attempting to launch in, is far from favourable. As Sakiri himself acknowledged, the global aviation industry is in a crisis. In response to an international fuel shortage and growing inflation, some Nigerian airlines shut down, with several more increasing the price of flights to cope with inflation.

Speaking to reporters, Sirika stated the government would find a ‘permanent solution’ to the problems currently being faced, which would include importation of the product at an appropriate price, accelerating the refurbishment of refineries and waiting for the coming stream of Dangote Refinery to boost supply of the product. He maintained that there were no short-term solutions to the aviation crisis.

What do you think about this recent development? Could Nigeria Air succeed despite its pre-existing and potential issues?

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