The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said the new national carrier, Nigeria Air will begin operations before May 29, 2023.
The Minister made the remarks yesterday at the 10th Aviation Stakeholders Forum in Abuja.
Remember that following President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration in May 2015, the government floated the idea of a new national carrier to replace Nigeria Airways, which was liquidated in 2003. It however took the government seven years to get a technical investor (Ethiopian Airlines) in the airline.
However, Sirika, who said the operation of the new airline has been hindered by the court cases, also stated that all the Nigerian-owned airlines were invited to invest in Nigeria Air but they declined because they did not believe.
He explained that Ethiopian Airlines came with a better proposal and were chosen as the preferred bidder because of the expertise they have shown and survived for a long time now.
The Minister said “Negotiation meeting with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria is ongoing.
“Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case.
“Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly.”
Sirika also stated that the benefits of establishing the national carrier include a reduced capital flight from Nigeria, maximizing the benefits of BASA and SAATM, and developing an aviation hub.
He also said the national carrier will contribute to the GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.