It seems there is still hope for Nigeria Air, the national carrier that was suspended, as the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that there was a need for the Federal Government (FG) to establish a national carrier at all cost. According to him, it would enable the country to compete with other nations in line with the Single African Air Transport Market project.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Joint Aviation Unions Forum, the umbrella body of all unions in the aviation sector, Sirika emphasised that the establishment of a national carrier would also make Nigeria a hub for air transportation.
Sirika said the Federal Government was not only committed to the establishment of a national carrier but the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities for aircraft and the implementation of other components of the aviation roadmap were also top priorities for the government.
It is not, however, clear if the Federal Government will still float the Nigeria Air as Ethiopian Airlines had claimed that it had entered talks with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to become the country’s national carrier.
Plans to establish the country’s national carrier had begun after a Committee on Establishment of National Carrier was inaugurated by President Buhari’s administration on August 25, 2015, in Abuja. The Committee submitted its report a month after. The carrier was later unveiled in London and named Nigeria Air in July 2018.
Reasons for its suspension: Preparations were suspended three months later in September 2018 due to ‘strategic planning‘, according to the Minister. There were however claims that the delay came as a result of disagreement that ensued among the former Federal Executive Council (FEC) members over modality issue, as well as lack of proper planning.
Apparently, some members of the FEC suggested that the project should be 100% privately-owned, while the others wanted the Government to make some investments towards the establishment of the national carrier. All these have been frustrating the commencement of the Nigeria Air project.