Domestic airlines have taken the Federal Government, its foreign technical partner, and majority shareholders to court over the national carrier project.
Naija News learned that about eight local airlines and their association took the Nigerian government to court on Friday over its deal with Ethiopian Airlines to launch a national carrier.
Listed as the first, second, third, and fourth defendants in the suit were Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The plaintiffs are Azman Air, Air Peace, Max Air, Topbrass Aviation, and United Nigeria Airlines, under the aegis of the Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria.
The suit was filed in the Federal High Court of Nigeria in the Lagos Judicial Division.
Among other prayers, the domestic airlines want the court to stop the national carrier deal and withdraw the Air Transport Licence already issued to Nigeria Air by the Federal Government/Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
They also claimed that the firm which served as Transaction Adviser for the transaction was incorporated in March last year and alleged that the company was linked to the aviation minister.
The local airlines further alleged that ATL issued to Nigerian Air did not pass through the normal security clearance.
According to them, the Federal Government’s partnership with Ethiopian Airlines on the project will send domestic airlines out of business by opening up the domestic air travel market to Ethiopian Airlines.
The domestic airlines demanded, in the court document, an order directing the immediate revocation and cancellation of the Air Transport License issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the 1st Defendant.
They also demanded an order of N2bn only as damages “for the injury suffered by the Plaintiffs and still suffering as a result of the wrongful exclusion of the Plaintiffs, wrongful action; unlawful bidding and selection processes and their wrongful projection of the plaintiffs as not having properly, rightly and timely bid for the Nigeria Air project.”
The court, therefore, summoned Sirika and other defendants named in the suit to cause an appearance to be entered for them to the summons within 30 days after service of the summons on them.