Uche Usim, Abuja
Despite repeated assurances from the Federal Government of the takeoff of Nigeria Air in 2019, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika on Tuesday said there are internal issues that need to be sorted before the dream national carrier can fly.
The national carrier and the logo were unveiled amid shoddy arrangements at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in July 2018, with December of that year set as a possible take-off target.
However, the Aviation Minister, who spoke at the 7th Aviation Workers’ Week in Abuja, titled ‘Contributions of the National Carrier to the Socio-economic Development of Nigeria’, has revealed that the project has not been jettisoned despite media reports that suggest otherwise.
Sirika, who was represented by a Director at the Ministry, Mohammed Shehu, said: “The national carrier will be online any moment from now, and it will contribute a lot. It is the dream of every Nigerian because of its economic advantage.
“It is a revenue-generating industry and we hope that when the national carrier starts, it is going to be wonderful and Nigeria will be fully represented globally, as it will create job opportunities in the country and beyond,” he noted.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Mr Hassan Musa, said collaborative efforts were in place to ensure the success of the project given its socio-economic importance to Nigeria.
He added that the zeal of the Minister and the economic revival agenda of the Buhari administration were sufficient stimulants to ensure the national carrier takes off.
“The concept of this noble dream is well thought out while a phased execution of this resuscitation has reached advanced stages of fruition in the nearest future,” he said.
For his part, the Council Chairman, Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hector Nnadi, noted that the theme of the Aviation Workers’ Week was anchored on the desirability or otherwise of a national carrier’s contributions to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth, adding that the Minister’s commitment to the re-establishment a national carrier is what the country needs at this point in time.