The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, has announced that a new airline that would be used to run the country’s planned national carrier would be unveiled on Wednesday in the United Kingdom.
Sirika said that a committee on the national carrier project, which is headed by him, already met with officials of Airbus and Boeing, to discuss aircraft orders for the national carrier.
Photos: Minister of State Aviation @hadisirika,Transaction Advisers,Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Transportation, MD-FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma & Officials from the Ministry of Aviation at the Farnborough Air Show #FIA2018 taking place from the 16th-22nd July 2018 in Farnborough. pic.twitter.com/zgq4qX3mmH
— FAAN (@FAAN_Official) July 17, 2018
When the new airline will be delivered
Following the announcement made by the minister, there have been reactions about the aircraft for national carrier. Aviation industry experts who argued the reservation about the timeliness of the airline delivery, expressed that airline usually doesn’t get delivered as at when ordered.
According to them, manufacturers need time to manufacture the airline once it is ordered. The experts maintained that manufacturers do not keep aircraft on ground and sell them like cars, but they produce for airlines and others that make firm order and confirm their order with payment made.
In an interview with ThisDay, a Nigerian operator who had acquired aircraft in the past, made known that in the interim, “Boeing and Airbus may facilitate a possible leasing of aircraft for the national airline, depending on what the minister agrees with them.”
However, the minister is yet to disclose how the acquired airline would start operation after unveiling, but had earlier made known that the new national carrier would start with five aircraft that would be delivered on December 19, 2018.
The airline which will commence operation on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 is expected to subsequently grow capacity to 20 aircraft in the next five years having started with five aircraft.
While receiving the Outline Business Case (OBC) of compliance certificate from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Sirika revealed that the airline will be profitable in the first three years of operation.
The OBC received recommended that government should inject $8.8 million in viability gap funding and the upfront grant required to leverage private sector investment going forward. It also specified $300 million capital injection in three years by the operators of the national carrier for sustainability.
According to Sirika, there is no reason to doubt the national carrier viability, reasoned that Nigeria has a huge population to support aviation.