The Federal Government’s 5 per cent stake in the crisis-embroiled national carrier, Nigeria Air, is worth $12.5 million.
Prof. Tilmann Gabriel, who served as the Transaction Adviser to the project, disclosed this in a write-up obtained by Nairametrics.
According to him, the Nigerian Government’s investment as startup funding for the airline was $12.5 million, maintaining that the investment was in line with its 5 per cent share in the project.
Defence for Nigeria Air: Gabriel insisted that the process leading to the formation of the airline had been transparent, unlike the claim by some stakeholders in the sector, especially the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).
He stressed that the government had ensured a clear ownership structure for the airline under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Transaction Adviser insisted that with the total investment sum, the airline had a solid financial foundation.
According to him, Nigeria Air has the strategic direction, with a solid business plan for the next 10 years with a total start-up budget of $250 million.
He insisted that Nigeria Air was ready to launch with a fleet of Boeing 737 for domestic services, adding that the carrier was currently recruiting many Nigerian aviation professionals to help start the airline operation. He said:
“The Operations Control Centre at the Abuja Airport is ready to be opened with the most modern IT systems. The booking engines on the airline website and App will be available shortly with loyalty credit cards and other innovative pay systems.
“The immediate goal is to introduce all up-to-date customer service systems to make flying a pleasurable and easy-to-use enjoyment. Nigeria Air will be a new competitor in the Nigerian market, adding to the existing airlines. As Michael Porter taught us many years ago, the five factors of competition are for all businesses to recognise, amongst them is that all competition creates new businesses for all, as the customer has added choices.
“In short, the new year 2023 will have added choices for domestic flights for all customers, soon also on the regional and international markets.”
Besides, Gabriel explained that Nigeria Air has applied to join the AON, despite the kick by the umbrella body of indigenous carriers in the country to support the emergence of the airline.”
Impending NCAA’s certification: Gabriel further disclosed that the Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) for Nigeria Air had reached phase three of the exercise, out of the five phases an intending operator is expected to go through, assuring that the airline would be issued the certificate by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which would enable it to operate as a scheduled operator.
The backstory: In November 2022, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) objected to the Ethiopian shareholding of 49 per cent in Nigeria Air, alleging that it would lead to job loss in the country.
The case is scheduled to come up at the Federal High Court Lagos Division next Monday, January 16, 2023.
“The PPP process governed by ICRC is also about to close, with the Federal Executive Council’s approval of the contracts with the investor consortium to be signed shortly.
“The decision process of selecting the preferred bidder consortium of respectable Nigerian owners and Ethiopian Airlines was completely transparent and managed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) governed PPP procedures,” he added.
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