The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the country’s national airline, Nigeria Air, is expected to take off by April 2022.
He said this Wednesday while speaking to State House reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a 5% stake, Nigerian entrepreneurs holding 46%, while the remaining 49% will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.
He said when operational, the national carrier would create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.
Sirika said the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier was finally approved at the meeting yesterday after previous five attempts to get its endorsement were turned down.
According to him, the national carrier will be run by a company in which the
Nigerian government will hold a 5% stake, Nigerian entrepreneurs holding 46%, while the remaining 49% will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.
“So, it’s 51% majority shareholding by Nigerians and then 49% will be held by strategic equity partner or partners that will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase,” he added.
He said, “The name is Nigeria Air, which of course, if you remember back in time, this was subject to national debate and 400,000 people participated, choose the name, the colour, the logo, everything and it was produced that time. It was launched also in Farnborough as far back as 2018.
“So, the business case is a public document. It will be on our website, you can download it and we can give you copies. This airline will pick up and start, by God’s grace, on or before April 2022.”
The minister, while defending the need for the carrier, said it was consistent with the flagship project of AU Agenda 2063 called the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
He said the only quickest way to integrate Africa and interconnect all her 54 nations was by air.
“It’s doable, it’s time-taking, but with aviation, within a year, once the right policy is in place, like SAATM, you can connect Africa and then of course, the needed integration will happen.”