From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Minister of Aviation Mr Hadi Sirika yesterday said that the nation’s new national carrier, Nigeria Air, would soon commence commercial operations with threee leased aircraft
Sirika made the disclosure to State House Correspondents after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
He said that the council approved the memo to allow Nigeria to lease aircraft to start operations.
Sirika said Nigeria Air will start with three leased airlines. He explained: “We have said in our outline business case, which was earlier approved, that we are starting with three aircrafts for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeings because every airline that will grow big uses the two.
“We will start with domestic flights and then we grow to become international and then we move to become regional and intercontinental.”
On the government intends to pull through the hiccups facing the aviation sector, Sirika said: “There are challenges currently in our aviation industry but it is a global phenomenon and it will not last forever because aviation is a very resilient sector. Certainly we will overcome these problems.
“I presented two memoranda on the national carrier to allow Nigeria to lease aircraft to start operations. That has been approved by the council. And the second is the deployment of investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau.
“That tool will permit the Accident Investigation Bureau to be able to decode goings on in flights, and God forbid, should there be a need to investigate the accident or incident, the tool will help them to be able to do so.
Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, has approved €1,506,285.7, an equivalent of N707,962,864.83 for the deployment of investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau AIB) in the aviation sector.
According to Sirika, the tool will permit the accident investigation to be able to decode goings on in flights.
“That procurement is for 1,506,285.7 euros which is equivalent to N707,962,864.83. This will be including taxes at a central bank exchange rate of 472 in Euro with the delivery period of 11 months and is awarded to Messers Integrated Contract Services Limited for AIB,” he added.
“Of particular reference, yesterday (Tuesday) all of you were present when we discussed with the Airline operators of Nigeria (AON) as to the challenges we’re facing in terms of Jet A1 availability and of course pricing, which is 40% of the operations of the airline.