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FG says Nigeria Air plans still on course

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THE Federal Government has disclosed that plans are still ongoing to establish Nigeria Air.

The national carrier was unveiled by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the Farnborough Airshow, London, in July 2018. Between then and now, its take off date is uncertain as the carrier is yet to fully come together.

Sirika had in 2016, listed the airport concessions, a national carrier aircraft leasing companies, maintenance facilities as components of his Aviation Roadmap agenda.

In 2020, he said that lack of funds to invest in aviation infrastructure is the reason why the Federal Government planned the concession of major airports across the country.

Special Assistant, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, told The ICIR in a telephone interview that the process of establishing Nigeria Air was still ongoing and the carrier would be established soon.

He said, “We submitted proposals which have been evaluated. Within a short time, the preferred bidder would be made public.”

Odaudu also noted that they were still in the process of acquiring the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

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On July 27, 2022, the Federal Government, however approved the leasing of three aircraft to enable the operational take-off of the new Nigeria Air.

The Chief Executive Officer, 7Star Global Hangar Limited, Isaac Balami, stressed the importance of the national carrier.

He said, “There is no doubt at all on the importance of having a national carrier. Whether the architecture or the variables are components that have to do with a flag carrier, it doesn’t matter.

“British Airways today is a national carrier but also a flag carrier. It is majority privately owned. American Airlines is privately owned, Delta and United Airlines in the United States are all privately owned but the issue is that the government over the years have put structures in place to ensure these airlines compete and survive.”

Balami noted that the national carrier was another window to achieving private sector participation in aviation, as well as the development of aircraft maintenance facilities and flight simulators

He said, “It is beyond just flying an aircraft, it also needs aircraft maintenance, and training facilities. It is not enough to have aviation colleges in Zaria but having advanced courses and simulators,” he explained.

The aircraft engineer said a hybrid model of private and government participation is the best bet for the development of the aviation industry. He however noted that all the variables must be looked into to enable the sector to survive and support other players in the industry.

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Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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