Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Nigeria Air: FEC approves leasing of aircrafts for commencement of operations

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the leasing of three aircraft for the commencement of operations for the country’s carrier, Nigeria Air.

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the close of the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sirika noted that the airline would begin with three aircraft made by Airbus and Boeing, running solely domestic routes.

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He added that the airline would expand into regional and intercontinental routes.

The Minister, however, declined to state the actual date operations would kick off saying “we will announce commencement soon.”

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Sirika also noted that Nigerians who are willing to own part of the 51 per cent share available for indigenous investors are “welcomed to participate.”

He said Nigeria Air was open to investment from any of the country’s airlines, particularly the 51 per cent shares set aside for Nigerians.

Asked about the number of aircraft the government was planning to lease and when the airline would likely to take off, he said: “On how many aircraft, I have said in our business plan, in the outline business case which is approved which are presented right here in this hall, I said that we are starting with three aircraft, for the first instance, to do the runs and then we progress.

“As to the make and type, we will be having eventually a mix of the two, the Air Buses and the Boeings. Because every airline that grows big is either or, most of them are either Air Bus or they are Boeing, especially for the Intercontinental and international flights. And this will start as domestic airline. And then it will of course grow to become regional and international also intercontinental. On timeline, is a process we’re progressing. We will announce the commencement date soon.”

On how the national carrier would survive the current challenge in the aviation sector, the minister said: “On the question of how we’re going to pull this through with the hiccups the aviation is facing, well, certainly it is a global phenomena. Of course, I’m very sure you are abreast with the going on around the aviation industry. But suddenly, it’s not here forever. “Aviation is very resilient activity. From time before, it always takes a deep and then come back up. We saw it in 9/11, we saw it in south, we saw it in global meltdown. We saw it in Pearl Harbor, and so on so forth. So, aviation is very resilient. And I think we’ll get out of the problems we are facing.

Details soon…

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