The minister of Aviation has disclosed that Nigeria Air will commence operation in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, 2023. The projected national carrier will acquire its air operating certificate in two weeks, according to Hadi Sirika. The national carrier, presents a chance for the nation’s aviation industry and for Africa as a whole.
He said, “Well, Nigeria Air will launch shortly. There is a process to establishing an airline and that process is driven by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nigeria, and it comes in phases: phases one, two, three, four, and five. Those processes must happen. But before those processes will happen because it is a private-public partnership, it must go through the Infrastructure, Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), starting by establishing a consultancy firm transaction advisor to make a business case and to see whether it is a viable bankable project. And that has been done. It took, of course, about two years to do.
“So, you must study the market in at least two cycles. That happened, the outline business case was produced, which looked excellent; and it was approved by the ICRC. Then it was taken to the Federal Executive Council, [where it was] also approved. And then, before now, we went to [the] public to call for tenders for bidders, which is the procurement process.”
He added, “In that procurement process, Nigeria Air ended up having Ethiopian Airlines as a partner with 49 percent, and then five percent is for the Government of Nigeria, and 46 percent’; Nigerian entrepreneurs and companies. Coming together to own the rest. Now this would be the structure of the airline.”
He said, “Nigeria Air has applied for the Air Transport License which has been issued, and now they’re applying for an AOC. I believe that one week from today, it should be able to get the AOC issued, or within two weeks maximum. And that will signal the beginning of the establishment of the carrier itself [which can then begin flying). So, the airline is on its way, and it will be soon. It will be launched within this quarter, it will be flying within this quarter, and it will give Nigeria the service that has been eluding it.”