Nigeria is planning to launch a new national airline, Nigeria Air, by Summer 2023. The country has recently opened a tender process for investors.
Reports pipped Qatar Airways as the favoured bidder, but Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Aviation has since stated that it has yet to choose an airline, internally or internationally, to run the new flag carrier.
Keeping options open
Since Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari gave presidential approval to the new 2023 deadline of June, there has been a readiness to get things moving. The government has been looking to secure investment to provide the new carrier with the financial backing it needs to run.
Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) stated that it is “working around the clock” to get Nigeria Air operational by the deadline.
Director-General of the ICRC, Michael Ohiani, said:
“I want to assure the Nigerian public that we are working round the clock to get it operational. We are working with the Ministry of Aviation, and we have just gotten presidential approval. I can assure you that before the end of this administration, Air Nigeria will start flying.”
The country has not owned a national airline since 2003 when Nigeria Airways went defunct.
Reports that Qatar Airways could be set to run the new carrier as a core investor were debunked by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Aviation in a statement released on Thursday.
The statement said that the government isn’t far enough in the process to have already chosen a preferred bidder.
President Buhari is keen to have established the country’s new carrier before the end of with presidential term on 29 May 2023.
Nigeria was last in the news for the launch of the Spring Alliance, a group of six domestic airlines that promise to minimise the effects of description faced by passengers.
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