Nigerian Air plane to fly in
An aircraft for Nigeria Air will arrive in the country tomorrow ahead of the commencement of operations, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has said.
Sirika stated that the aircraft would be unveiled in Nigeria’s colours in fulfillment of the promise made by the outgoing Muhammadu Buhari administration to float a national carrier.
He, however, noted that the only incomplete item was the aerotropolis, which is the airport city that is about 60 percent complete.
The minister, who spoke on a television programme yesterday, had at an aviation stakeholder’s forum in March said that Nigeria Air would commence full operations before May 29.
But the carrier is yet to be issued an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) 20 months after the Federal Government announced Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder for the project.
Ethiopian Airlines is to have 49 percent stake in the airline and three Nigerian investors like MRS and Skypower Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), 46 percent . The remaining five percent was reserved for the Federal Government.
Sirika explained that the share capital of about $300 million was to be provided by Ethiopian Airlines, which would launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft.
The minister added that the airline would take off with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for shuttle services between Abuja and Lagos.
The umbrella body of local carriers – Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON)—is, however, challenging the selection of Ethiopian Airlines as the core investor / technical partner for the project.
The AON is faulting the 15 years tax moratorium to be granted the new carrier insisting that such preferential treatment will push competitors out of business.
A suit challenging the airline’s take-off is yet to be determined at the Federal High Court in Lagos