FG Pushes to Launch Nigeria Air Before Tinubu Takes Over, as Experts Identify Issues That May Stop the Plan
- Nigeria plans to finally launch its national carrier, Nigeria Air, before May 29, 2023, ahead of the Bola Tinubu administration
- But this is not the first time that the government will be pushing to get Nigeria Air flying
- Aviation experts have provided insight into why the planned date might not be possible despite assurance from the government
The Federal Government has reiterated that Nigeria Air will commence operations before May 29, 2023.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this at the 10th Aviation Stakeholders Forum on Thursday, March 23.
Sirika explained that establishing the national carrier will bring numerous benefits to Nigeria, such as curtailing capital flight from the country, optimising the advantages of the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA), Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), and the advancement of an aviation hub.
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"The national carrier will contribute to the country’s GDP, facilitate hospitality and tourism, facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector, and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals."
The challenges ahead
As previously reported by Legit.ng, Nigeria Air has missed its scheduled launch date on six separate occasions. Before the new date slated for before May 29, the most recent proposed launch date for Nigeria Air was December 2022.
Sirika, in his address, explained that legal tussle with domestic airlines was responsible for the delayed takeoff of the new airline.
Nonetheless, the aviation minister remains fully confident that Nigeria Air will fly to both domestic and international destinations soon, before May 29 and the commencement of the Bola Tinubu administration.
"The aircraft is ready, the offices are in place, the stand at the airport is ready and everything is ready for takeoff."
Experts explain why the airline may not fly before May 29
According to the CEO of Centurion Security and Safety Consults, Capt. John Ojikutu, Nigeria Air's launch depends on resolving the issue of trapped funds owed to foreign airlines by Nigeria.
He also raised concerns about Nigeria's readiness to submit operational plans for acceptance by other countries and questioned how many intercontinental routes would be available.
Ojikutu doubted that Nigeria Air would fly, particularly on intercontinental routes, and raised questions about the airline's ownership structure.
While Olumide Ohunayo, the director of Research and Corporate Travel at Zenith Travel Consult, warned against forcing the airline to fly and disobeying valid court orders.
Ohunayo suggested that the project be handed over to the next administration rather than being forced on Nigerians during a transition period.
Air Peace others get new rival as Kano billionaire buys N4.2bn aircraft
Meanwhile, in another report, Rano Air will soon be flying over Nigerian airspace after receiving approval from the federal government.
The airline is owned by Kano-born business mogul and oil magnate Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano.
To kick off the airline operation, Rano has spent over N4.2 billion on buying a new aircraft.