National Carrier, Nigeria Air, to Commence Operations April 2022

The national carrier, Nigeria Air, is set to begin flight operations by April 2022. The new official airline would have 51 per cent of its equity shares owned by the Nigerian government and people, with foreign partners having the remaining 49 per cent.

The venture is expected to generate 70,000 jobs.

These were disclosed to newsmen yesterday by Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, at the end of the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

Sirika explained that in the new national carrier, the federal government will have five percent equity shares, Nigerian entrepreneurs 46 per cent equity shares, while the expected international strategic partners would have 49 equity shares.

Sirika stressed that FEC had given approval for the new national carrier. He said over 400,000 Nigerians participated in choosing the name, which was launched in 2018.

According to him, “Today (Wednesday) in Council, civil aviation presented two memoranda. One of the memos is approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before Council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by Council.

“The structure of the proposed airline: government will be owning not more than five per cent. So five per cent is the maximum equity that government will take, then 46 per cent will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs. So, if you add that, it’s 51 per cent.

“It is 51 per cent majority shareholding by Nigerians and then 49 per cent will be held by strategic equity partner or partners that will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase.

“This airline, if started, and within the first few years will generate about 70,000 jobs. These 70,000 jobs are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country. Its importance had been well discussed so, I’ll not go back to it. You had discussed it separately also on various fora as to the need for it.”

Sirika noted African Union’s agenda 2063 on the integration of the continent in terms of trade, and another flagship project, the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

“Now, the only way, the quickest way that you can integrate Africa is by air, because if you want to interconnect all the 54 nations of Africa, via rail or road, or waterways, which is even impossible, the quantum of money that you need to do all of these, the time it will take to develop this infrastructure, as well as the maintenance cost, is almost prohibitive,” he said.

The minister further said, “The name is Nigerian Air, which, of course, if you remember back in time, this was subject to national debate and 400,000 people participated, chose the name, the colour, the logo, everything and it was produced that time. It was launched also in Farnborough as far back as 2018.

“So, the business case is a public document. It will be on our website, you can download it and we can give you copies. This airline will pick up and start, by God’s grace, in or before April 2022.”

The minister added that FEC also approved another memo for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including software support and training, which will be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He stated, “In summary, this is a software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulation to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, follow ups on personnel licensing, the medicals, the economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation will be monitored by this single software.

“It is called ‘the truth machine’ in quotation in Europe, because all of the truth of regulation of civilisation will appear on this platform, it’s an extremely important software that the world has now come to terms with.

“The contract was given to Messrs Arif Investment Nigeria Limited, who are representatives of Empik GmbH. This Empik are the creators of this software, one of its kind in the world, at the sum of N1,492,520,325, which will be including 7.5 per cent VAT and completion period of six months.”