Nigerian government unveils controversial national carrier, Nigeria Air

The Nigerian Government on Friday unveiled the controversial national carrier, Nigeria Air, less than three days before the end of administration of outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, and inauguration of a new administration to be led by Bola Tinubu

Penpushing reports that national carrier aircraft was unveiled at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport premises in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, who assured that operation of local and international flights will commence before May 29, 2023

‘When we came in 2015, we knew what to do. We commissioned consultants to give us a brief of what the sector would be…Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly”, he boasted

 Penpushing further reports that the minister while addressing journalists at the airport explained that the airline was an investment between entrepreneurs in Nigeria and an Ethiopian consortium, equally disclosed in March that the national carrier would commence operation before the swearing-in of a new administration on 29 May.

The Nigeria Air, the nation’s proposed national carrier, it is recalled, was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England on 18 July 2018, while the project was suspended two months after being announced as critics raised concerns over its relevance and sustainability.

Penpushing also reports that the proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million in preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost, as record has it that the national carrier idea was raised many years after Nigeria’s defunct carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed due to corruption and poor management.

The Federal Executive Council(FEC)  in July, 2022 , it is recalled approved the leasing of three aircraft to enable the airline to commence operations, and in  September same year the Minister at a press briefing in Abuja said Ethiopian Airlines emerged as a core investor in Nigeria Air with a 49 per cent shareholding.

Penpushing reports that it is also recalled that this led to the suit filed by local airline operators, who argued that they can manage Nigerian Air better than a foreign airline.

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