CEM REPORT, AVIATION | The President has directed the ministry of aviation to conclude all plans to ensure that the planned national air carrier, Nigeria Air, commences operations before the end of 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja.
”In line with the outcome of the panel session on Priority 4 (Improve Transportation and Other Infrastructure), the ministry of aviation is hereby directed to conclude and ensure the take-off of the National Carrier Project before the end of the year.”
Buhari had earlier said Nigeria Air was 91 percent completed and should commence operations in December.
President Buhari had promised to establish a national airline during his 2015 electioneering campaign. His administration has insisted on commencing a new one after the liquidation of Nigeria’s former national carrier, Nigeria Airways.
The government has also said the new air carrier, unlike the previous one, will not be wholly owned by the Nigerian government and will not be managed by the government.
The government has said Ethiopian Airlines is the core investor in the new carrier with 49 percent shareholding. The government owns five percent while the Nigerian firms MRS and SAHCO hold 46 percent.
Nigeria Air was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18, 2018.
The project was suspended two months after it was announced after critics raised concerns over its relevance and sustainability. The proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million in preliminary cost and $300 million as takeoff cost.
But the Nigerian government dismissed all concerns raised, saying the airline would begin operation before the end of 2018.
In July, the Federal Executive Council approved the leasing of three aircraft to enable the airline to commence operations on a date to be announced soon by the government.