The Federal Executive Council has approved the leasing of three aircraft by the country’s national carrier, called ‘Nigeria Air’ to enable it to commence operations on a date to be announced soon by the government.
Aviation minister Hadi Sirika announced this while briefing journalists at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.
“We have said in our outline business case, which was earlier approved, that we are starting with three aircraft for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeings because every airline that will grow big uses the two,” he said.
Mr Sirika said Nigeria Air will start with domestic flights before expanding to international routes.
“We will start with domestic flights and then we grow to become international and then we move to become regional and intercontinental. There are challenges currently in our aviation industry but it is a global phenomenon and it will not last forever because aviation is a very resilient sector. Certainly, we will overcome these problems,” he added.
Many Nigerians are suspicious of the plan to launch a National carrier, partly with public funds, at a time the government can no longer fund its essential operations.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigerian government, between January and April, spent more money to service its debts that its total earnings for the period.
However, the government has said the national carrier will be largely private sector driven.
On Wednesday, the FEC also approved N707. 9 million for the procurement of investigation tools for Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
The AIB investigates accidents involving aircraft across Nigeria.
Mr Sirika said the tool, when procured, will aid investigations, whenever an aircraft is involved in an accident in any part of Nigeria.
“The memo was for the deployment of an investigation tool by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). That tool permits the AIB to be able to record going-ons in flights; God forbid, should there be a need to investigate an accident, or a serious incident and the tool will help them to do so.
“That procurement is in the sum of N707, 962, 854. 83, an equivalent of 1, 506, 285.70 Euros, inclusive of 7.5 per cent value added tax at the Central Bank’s exchange rate of N470 to a Euro, with a delivery period of 11 months,” he stated.
Source: Premium Times