The Federal Government have begun plans to establish a new national carrier which will be jointly run by the government and the private sector as an incentive for airlines flying the same routes.
Speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadira Sirika, also told journalists that government has appointed a transaction adviser for the new national carrier who would facilitate the process.
While expressing optimism that the new national carrier which is billed to take off in the next 12 months would provide alternative for Nigerians, the Minister said it will be a public-private partnership.
Sirika says Nigerians will have options, competition, and good aircraft which will bring down the price once the new national carrier is in place.
To address some of the challenges being faced by some foreign carriers that were threatening to pull out of the country, government says it has made trapped $300 million available to foreign airlines, some of which had suspended operations to the country.
He also revealed that government has approved additional N1.57 billion for rehabilitation of local and international wings of Port Harcourt International Airport for the original contractor Messes Entaba.
The second project, he said, was the refurbishment of the airport terminal building phase II domestic wing which was jerked up from N746,830,782.12 to N1,411,662,855.67.
The Minister is optimistic that the Port Harcourt airport, especially the arrival section which has been tagged the worst in the world’s airports will soon be completed. According to him, the project which is captured in the 2016 and 2017 budget has been approved by the council.
Mr. Sirika stated that government had intensified efforts towards addressing the challenges of security and safety across the nation’s airports.
He said his ministry would organize a stakeholders forum where issues concerning the aviation industry would be deliberated upon with a view to finding solutions facing the sector.