From Uche Usim, Abuja
To put doubts over the possibility of having a new national airline to bed, the federal government has said that the Nigeria Air project was on course and got to the point where investors will pool $250 million (about N102 billion) to buoy the deal.
Aviation Minister, Mr Hadi Sirika made the revelation in a document on the updated status of the government’s aviation roadmap being gradually implemented.
According to the document, the procurement phase for the national carrier was the phase of the project, having successfully completed the development phase.
It said, “The next set of steps will involve the commencement of the procurement phase by placing advert for request for qualification in the national dailies and the foreign media.
“$250m approximately is to be raised to start up the airline by private investors.”
The Nigeria Air logo and livery were unveiled on the sidelines of the 2018 Farnborough Air Show in July 2018, the Federal Government unveiled the branding and livery for the proposed new airline, Nigeria Air where Sirika gave a December launch date.
Since then, the project is yet to take off, forcing many to describe it as one of the white elephant projects of Nigeria.
However, according to the aviation roadmap, Sirika explained that the establishment of a national carrier would enable Nigeria gain optimal benefits from Bilateral Air Service Agreements, take full advantage of the Single African Air Transport Market and introduce competition.
The document said, “The national carrier project will be private sector driven, with the government holding not more than five per cent of the shares.
“The private sector consortium may comprise reputable international airlines (such as Qantas), leasing companies, aircraft manufacturers (OEMs), financial and institutional investors.”
The government said it was providing the required support by creating the enabling environment in terms of sustainable policies, allocation of BASA routes, provision of financial guarantees and ensuring fiscal incentives to sustain the success of the airline.