National Carrier: Nigeria Air To Commence Operations In December, Says Minister

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has announced that Nigeria Air which is the National Carrier will commence operations from December 2018.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during the launch of the name and logo at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.

He said that the airline will fly about 81 routes, 40 for domestic, regional and sub-regional and 41 for international.

The airline will shuttle between the Lagos to Abuja airports which will add 11 million passengers capacity in each of the two airports.

“Lagos currently does 8 million per annum which was built in 1979 for 200,000 passengers annually while Abuja does 5 million.” He added.

Speaking on the need for a National Carrier, the minister explained “Nigeria has not been a player for a very long time. We use to be a dominant carrier in the continent of Africa through Nigeria Airways. Sadly, Nigeria Airways is no more.

“The Government has been quite liberal by liberalizing the sector at the tail end of the 70s and early 80s to allow the private sector to participate in creating a robust airline that would serve the market, and that would transform the economy of that region.

“Unfortunately, the stories of the initiatives which were well recognized and respected has not yielded the desired goals of achieving a top class, competitive, efficient and vibrant carriers. With the government of Nigeria, it is extremely important that the service is provided.

“The reason being, there is a service that is needed and also, it will offer employment opportunities that will kick start, ginger, double up and rush the growth of the economy of Nigeria.

“So we take it as an extremely very important venture. And that is why the government thought it has the responsibility upon itself much more than a society in trying to create a new National Carrier that will be typical and private sector led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arraignment.

He noted that the airline will be used to promote the culture and tradition of the nation.

Nigeria’s first national carrier was established in 1958 and stopped operations in 2003 with more than 30 aircraft on its fleet in the 1980s.

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