National airline will begin operation this year – Hadi Sirika

National airline will begin operation this year – Hadi Sirika
January 04 20:08 2017

The Minister of State‎ for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika said on Wednesday said that the federal government intends to ensure that a national airline for the country begins operations before the end of this year.

The minister said this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President in Abuja. “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. 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 aircrafts 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. 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,” he said.