National Airline To Commence Operation Next Year – Hadi Sirika

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 Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika has said Nigeria will have a viable national airline before the end of 2017. The minister made this revelation while interacting with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

Sirika said the project would be private sector driven, stressing that the Federal Government may only own as low as 3% of the airline.

Hadi Sirika said:

“When we came in, we were very clear on our targets and goals and what we set out to achieve, and we did say that Nigeria does need a national airline.”

“The national airline will be one that the government will have no hand in; normally it can have three percent”

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“It will be private sector-led, private sector-driven. Except with the Ethiopian airline, it has been proven that government doesn’t do well with this kind of venture.”

“We are going to have a national carrier; it is on course and because it is a PPP thing it has to go through IC and C, and also has to follow all the due process. So it is time-consuming but I hope very soon before the end of the year we will have a very strong viable national airline”

 “For me, if any airline will have the capacity to deploy several aircraft with seamless operation, non-disruptive, provide the service, go the long haul, take advantage and give other international airlines a run for their money, we don’t need to get involved; it is because there is none.”

“The Nigerian Airways used to do all of these but in the wisdom of the then government they liberalised the sector, because of the absence of Nigeria’s capacity most of these airlines will come and leave as fast as they came in. But we are addressing all of these.”

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“We are going to establish this national carrier and it will give good service. This is the solution because Nigeria has the market, we are 180 million, we are sitting in West Africa and in the West African market we are 450 million and Nigeria is the major player.”

“If you add the Central Africa, which is the Central belt, we are 600 million people, which is equivalent to the US market and also equal to the European market.”

Nigeria’s former National Airline – Nigeria Airways stopped its operations in 2003.