The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has confirmed the proposed national airline for Nigeria to be unveiled before the end of this year.
A former pilot, Sen Sirika, gave the assurance while receiving the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the establishment of the airline from the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Mr Chidi Izuwah.
The Minister said that the presentation of the Certificate was a testament on how far the project had gone.
The proposed airline will gulp $8.8million preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost.
The Nigerian government is not fully funding the airline as it has adopted midwifing it via the option of a Public Private partnership, to deliver a national carrier that would stand the test of time and be world class in operation and management.
According to Sen Sirika, Nigeria will receive the first set of five airplanes for the airliner on 19 December.
He said the airline will make profit in three years after operations.
The Minister said “At Farnborough International Public Airshow coming July 18, 2018 in London, we will unveil the name, logo, colour scheme, the structure and the type of airplane about the national carrier.
He said “We will also place the order for the aircraft at the event”.
Sen Sirika explained that the government would step in to cover the funding gap at the onset and ease out thereafter.
He said the government would not get involved in the management of the national carrier.
Sen Sirika however said Nigeria’s population of over 180 million people is huge enough to support aviation, adding that the airline would take advantage of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) that the country had with over 70 countries.
According to him, it will also take advantage of the Africa Single Air Transport Market and will be the best player if the government gets it right.
The minister also gave an assurance that the national carrier would not kill the domestic airlines operating in the country.
The Director General of ICRC, Izuwah, said the presentation of the Certificate of Compliance was an official green light to proceed with the procurement process.
He explained that the government would bring its contribution to kick-start the airline, adding that the amount of equity the partners would hold would determine government contribution.
According to him, start-up cost over the next three years is about $300 million, but pre-start-up is $8.8 million.