Investor apathy may have been the reason for the suspension of the take off in Nigeria Airr. Minister of State for Transport Hadi Sirika yesterday announced the government had decided to suspend the take-off of the new national carrier.
Nigerians have reacted in a negative manner to the suspension, in view of the billions of Naira spent as start-up costs.
According to some unconfirmed sources, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were split as to the possibility of raising the required funds before the take-off date.
As part-payment for the government’s 5% investment shares, the Federal Government had injected N3.2 billion and its startup capital was programmed to be N108 billion ($300 million) over the next three years.
Some other reasons attributed where the unwillingness of the airline manufacturers to go into partnership with the Federal Government.
The minister last year announced that the Federal Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus in respect of the establishment of a national airline
In August 2015, the Federal government set up a 13-member committee to consult with international partners for the establishment of a national airline for Nigeria. In the same year, the committee submitted its report to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajiya Binta Bello.
The airline’s predecessor Nigeria Airways was founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation, WAAC. It held the name WAAC Nigeria until 1971, when it was rebranded. It stopped operations in 2003. The defunct airline is owing pensioners arrears running into billions of Naira.
The government then went into partnership with Virgin Atlantic, to establish Virgin Nigeria. Virgin Atlantic, however, sold its stake after several disagreements with the Ministry of Transportation, and an alleged breach of an agreement by the Federal Government to operate from the international terminal.
Jimoh Ibrahim, who bought Virgin Atlantic’s stake shut down the airline shortly after, due to what he termed sabotage.