FG unveils new National Carrier ‘Nigeria Air’
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Federal Government has unveiled the name and logo of its new National Carrier, ‘Nigeria Air, saying that the government is also in talks with aircraft providers such as Airbus and Boeing to provide aircrafts to enable it commence operations in December this year.
Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, did the unveiling on behalf of the government, Wednesday at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.
Speaking during a press interview after the unveiling launching event, the Minister said: “This is an important day for Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, largest population, Gross Domestic Product GDP of around half a billion dollars, and the only true aviation player in West and Central Africa.
“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore.
“This will be a National Carrier that is Private sector led and driven. It is a business, not a social service. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.
“The Nigerian Government will not own more than five per cent (maximum) of the new National Carrier. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.”
It was further gathered that new terminals in Lagos and Abuja Airports will add 11 million passenger capacities in each of the two airports, even as the airline is expected to operate flights on 81 domestic, regional and international routes.
According to the minister, the new airline, which will be private-sector driven, will be used by Nigeria to make a statement that, ‘yes, Nigeria can do it’.
He continued: “We also want to promote our cultures and traditions. It will also create economic opportunities and jobs.
“We’ve been talking to Airbus and Boeing (and they are present at this event) regarding the aircraft for Nigeria Air, and we will be making announcements very soon. We are currently negotiating.
“Nigeria Air is scheduled to commence operations in December 2018,” he added.