Amid controversies surrounding the establishment of the national carrier, Nigeria Air, the Federal Government has insisted that local and international flights will commence soon.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this on Thursday at the ongoing National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023 in Abuja, said flight operation would commence before May 29, the handing over date of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
“Negotiation meetings with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria is ongoing.
“Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case.
“Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly,” the Minister said.
The Minister said Nigeria’s benefits from establishing the national carrier are reduced capital flight from Nigeria, gain the optimal advantage of BASA and SAATM and develop an aviation hub.
He added that the National carrier would contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, facilitate hospitality and tourism, facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.
After being selected as the preferred bidder to establish the airline, NA would see Ethiopian Airlines become a majority shareholder with a 49% stake. A development, Airline Operators in Nigeria condemned. To this end, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON, in November last year filed a suit challenging Nigeria Air’s establishment.