AVIATION minister Senator Hadi Sirika has revealed that Nigeria’s proposed national carrier will start operations in April after an arrangement has been reached under which local investors will have a 46% stake in the venture while international partners own 49%.
In August 2018, Senator Sirika launched the carrier to be known as Nigeria Air at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK following extensive negotiations with several international airlines and aircraft manufacturers. However, the programme has since been put on ice after it was discovered that no budgetary provision had been made for the airline.
Following the liquidation of Nigerian Airways in 2003, the federal government has been grappling with how to float a national carrier with no success. After yesterday’s Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Senator Sirika said the federal government would own not more than a 5% equity stake in the new national airline.
Senator Sirika said: “The next one also is the approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by the council.
“The structure of the proposed airline is that the government will be own not more than 5%. So, 5% is the maximum equity that the government will take, then 46 % will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs, so, if you add that, it’s 51%.”
He added that when started, within the first few years, the airline will generate about 70,000 jobs, which is more than the total number of civil servants in the country. Senator Sirika added that as part of the package, a software package is being launched that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulation to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, including follow-ups on personnel licensing, the medicals, the economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation will be monitored by this single software.