Nigeria sets December date for national carrier

By Mohammed Momoh | The East African July 19, 2018

Nigeria has commenced negotiations with investors with a view to unveiling a new national carrier.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika confirmed that he would commence the talks at the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show in the UK.

Nigeria hopes to commission another national airline in December, several years after the flag carrier was liquidated.

The Nigeria Airways was founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation (WAAC) and it ceased operations in 2003.

At the time of the dissolution, the airline whose operations were concentrated at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, was headquartered at Airways House in Abuja.

Efficient and profitable

Nigeria Airways did fairly well in the early 1980s, just before the departure of a KLM team that had been hired to make it efficient and profitable.

The government now plans to lunch a private sector-driven carrier.

Mr Sirika also disclosed that negotiations with Boeing and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) would take place in the UK.

According to the minister, the UK air show was an opportunity to negotiate with airline manufacturers to get the most competitive and best value-for-money deals for Nigeria.

Mr Sirika explained that the show would provide an opportunity to establish a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Nigeria.

The minister had earlier tweeted: “Negotiating Aircraft orders with Airbus at Farnborough ahead of National Carrier unveiling on Wednesday.

Delay in the launch

“Negotiations with Boeing and other OEMs tomorrow. Met with Standard Chartered Bank earlier. All is looking good!”

Mr Sirika had on July 6, announced that the name and logo of the proposed airline would be unveiled during the UK air show and assured that it would commence operations in December.

The government had explained that the perceived delay in the launch of the new national carrier was to avoid the mistakes of the past.

The Federal Government, Mr Sirika explained, was following Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) guidelines to ensure due processes in the arrangement.

Consequently, he added, the government had appointed the Transaction Advisers to work out modalities for the carrier.

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