Sirika says Nigeria Air, investment between nation’s entrepreneurs, Ethiopian consortium

  • ….FG unveils aircraft

The Federal Government has unveiled the aircraft Nigeria Air plans to operate with when and if the proposed airline comes to fruition.

The plan to set up the airline by the Federal Government had pitted antagonists and protagonists of the carrier, especially from Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) that had gone to institute legal action against the airline.

The national carrier aircraft was unveiled by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport premises in Abuja on Friday.

 

“When we came in 2015, we knew what to do. We commissioned consultants to give us a brief of what the sector would be…,” We thank everyone for the support. This, by the will of God, will be for us and generations to come, “ the minister said while addressing journalists at the airport.

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He said the airline was an investment between entrepreneurs in Nigeria and an Ethiopian consortium.

The minister had hinted in March that the national carrier would commence operation before the swearing-in of a new administration on May 29, 2023.

“Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly”,  Sirika said.

Nigeria Air, the nation’s proposed national carrier, was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England on 18 July 2018.

The project was suspended two months after being announced as critics raised concerns over its relevance and sustainability.

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The proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million in preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost.

The national carrier idea was raised many years after Nigeria’s defunct carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed due to corruption and poor management.

Last July, the Federal Executive Council approved the leasing of three aircraft to enable the airline to commence operations.

In September last year,  Sirika said at a press briefing in Abuja that Ethiopian Airlines emerged as a core investor in Nigeria Air with a 49 percent shareholding. This led to the suit filed by local airline operators, who say they can manage Nigerian Air better than a foreign airline.

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Wole Shadare