Nigeria Air To Fly Before End Of May
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has disclosed that the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air will fly before May 29th, 2023.
Naija News reports that Sirika made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday during the 10th Aviation stakeholders forum.
The Minister submitted that the project was 98% completed, noting that “The airline will fly before May 29th this year.”
The minister, while giving an update on the likely date Nigeria Air would commence operation, said: “All of the roadmap items except perhaps the airline which in my opinion is in 98 per cent completion, and we will fly within these remaining two months by the grace of God.
“We will also finish the concessions. So, all those things we said we will do when we came in, we did them.
“Before the end of this administration, before May 29th, we will fly.”
The minister said even though he thought airlines like Emirate, Lufthansa, and Qatar airlines would emerge as the preferred bidder for the Nigeria Air project, eventually, he was glad the Ethiopian airlines’ group consortium emerged.
He advanced that “When we were setting up Nigeria Air limited, my gut feeling is to partner with airlines that I think will add value, with financial experience and high profile such as Emirate, Qatar, Lufthansa, and the rest of them.
“Those who worked closely with me know that this is my forecast and what I wanted because I believe if you partner with Lufthansa for example, automatically you will have the license to fly.
“I thought we would do that and I made attempts to reach them and invite them as I did with all airline owners in Nigeria except overland.
“I reached out to them personally to come and partner to create a strong airline but fast forward, we had a bidder, Ethiopian airline.
“I was very happy that we got them (Ethiopian) to come. It was not my choice but I am happy now knowing what I know.
“They are a household name, strong and they have been in business for 70 years unbroken and they have over 200 aircraft.
“So, I am very glad we are partnering with them and it is a reality.
“Some airlines are in court and their grouse is that it can be any airline in the world but not Ethiopian because, in their own way, they think Ethiopian is a competitor.
“Upon completion of the roadmap, it is estimated that 72,300 jobs (9,100 direct jobs and 63,200 jobs within three years and with 20 aircraft) will be created.
“A recent aviation sector study for Nigeria by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in June 2020, showcases the significant contribution of air transportation to the National economy, through providing 241,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and a contribution of $1.7 billion to the national economy.
“However, with the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, our overall goal is to grow the aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6% to 5% approximately $14.166 billion.”