Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has expressed opposition to ownership of the Nigerian Air.
The operators expressed their opposition on Thursday at the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nuhu Musa and the Chairman Air Peace, Allen Onyema, and the CEO of Top-Brass Aviation, Roland Iyayi all appeared before the committee.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Government has reached an agreement with Ethiopia Airlines to own 49% shares in the Nigerian Air Limited, with FG retaining 5% and Nigerian investors getting the remaining 46%.
Mr Iyayi, while speaking on behalf of AON, said the airline operators are against the planned ownership by Ethiopia, noting that it will lead to death of local operators.
He stated that the government of Ethiopia owns 100% of the stake in the company, hence, giving 49% ownership to Ethiopia Airlines means selling Nigeria’s right to a foreign entity.
Iyayi said the Ministry of Aviation did not carry the local airlines along.
“The partnership with Ethiopia Airlines, for us, we consider it ill-advised.” He added that the domestic airlines operating in Nigeria will not get the same protection that a national carrier is going to get,” he said.
In his statement, Sirika said the bidding went through proper process, and Ethiopia Airlines was selected as the preferred bidder.
He stated that the Nigerian government has no money to set up an airline, but the government is committed to setting up an airline.
The Chairman of the Committee, Nnaji Nnolim opposed the setup, arguing that it means giving Nigeria’s BASA agreement to Ethiopia.