…Commences search for investors
The dream of Nigeria of having a national carrier once again is gradually gaining traction as the name of the airline has been unveiled before the global community.
“I am very pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country: Nigeria Air,” the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika announced, yesterday, before some select Nigerian legislators, heads of aviation agencies, airlines, aviation equipment manufacturers and the investing community at the ongoing Farnborough Airshow in London.
The logo and colour scheme of green and white, symbolic of Nigeria’s national colours, was also unveiled to the world.
The defunct national carrier, Nigerian Airways, was run under by corrupt managers. Then President Olusegun Obasanjo liquidated the airline in 2004 in circumstances that have left experts wonder the rationale behind the liquidation when the airline could have been concessioned or privatised, considering its huge assets in spite its liabilities.
But President Muhammadu Buhari upon resumption of office as President, promised to give the country another national carrier.
Sen. Sirika had previously appointed transaction advisors (Airline Management Group Ltd, Avia Solutions Ltd and Tianerro FZE) which developed the business outline that was approved by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
The new airline will commence operation on December 19, 2018 with five aircraft and gradually grow capacity to 30 aircraft in five years.
The OBC specified that government should inject $8.8m in viability gap funding and the upfront grant required to leverage private sector investment going forward. It also specified $300m capital injection in three years by the operators of the national carrier for sustainability.
The minister had assured that in spite of government’s $8.8m fund gap, the management and business decisions of the national carrier would be 100 percent determined by the private sector managers, who will emerge core investors through competitive bidding process.
A statement yesterday from Farnborough by Mr. James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, quoted the Minister of State for Aviation, to have said “I am very pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country: Nigeria Air.”
“The minister explained that the unveiling of the airline at the Farnborough International Airshow was cognisant of the fact that being the largest congregation of global aviation industry players, it afforded the best opportunity to market the airline to prospective investors and register it in the minds of all stakeholders ahead of its formal launch billed to take place in Abuja before the end of the year.
“Following extensive market research, the branding of our new airline, Nigeria Air, demonstrates a true flag carrier of our nation, soaring through the skies in the shape of our nation’s eagle” the minister stated.