Sunday, November 28, 2021

Air Nigeria to begin service April 2022: Aviation Minister

Air Nigeria will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government holds a five per cent stake, aviation minister Hadi Sirika announced.

• November 24, 2021
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Air Nigeria
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Air Nigeria

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has announced that Nigeria’s national airline, Air Nigeria, is set to begin operations by April 2022.

Mr Hadi Sirika made this announcement to the press on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mr Sirika noted that Air Nigeria will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government holds a five per cent stake, Nigerian entrepreneurs holding 46 per cent, and 49 per cent will be reserved for yet-to-be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.

In 2018, Mr Sirika announced that the Buhari-led regime suspended plans to relaunch its national airline two months after the attempt to revive the carrier was announced.

Nigeria’s initial national air carrier, Nigeria Airways, shut down operations in 2003. Further attempts to float a national carrier were met with difficulties. In 2004, Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, as well as a group of Nigerian Investors set out to launch Virgin Nigeria. In 2010, Mr Branson pulled out of the agreement citing interference by politicians and regulators.

In 2012, after Virgin Nigeria announced that its staff had been dismissed ‘for being disloyal’,  the airline ceased all its local, regional, and international operations, and the Airline Operator’s Certificate expired. 

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