New plan for aborted Nigeria Air project in the works–Sirika

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*Al Taffaq, Sirika

The minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that the Nigeria Air project was only temporary and that a new pronouncement would be made soon.

However, he said the December 4 takeoff of the project is no longer feasible.

Sirika made the declaration yesterday while receiving the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Fahad Al Taffaq in his office in Abuja

The minister described as “inconceivable” that Nigeria, with its population of over 180 million people, would not be a major player in the aviation industry, noting that even the country’s geographical location has made it a natural hub for air transportation and ancillary businesses.

He said Nigeria and the UAE had had a long standing relationship politically and business-wise, especially in the aviation sector and hoped that the new envoy will use his presence in the country to further boost these relationships.

He also harped on the need for Emirates Airlines to increase its daily flights out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to compliment the support and patronage that Nigerians have given it.

He emphasised that the federal government was doing all that was necessary to provide the conducive environment that airlines need to thrive.

Earlier in his remarks, Taffaq had said that he was at the ministry to reaffirm his country’s continued cooperation with Nigeria in the area of aviation where both countries have enjoyed a long-standing relationship.

He said it was in view of such a relationship that the Arab country approved the extension of its tourist visa to six months while on a visit to the country, meaning that Nigerian tourists can stay for up to six months.

He also informed Sirika that plans had been completed for the opening of a visa office in Lagos to mitigate the hardship of coming to Abuja for visa processing.

The ambassador promised to maintain the strong political and economic affinity between Nigeria and his country a situation he said is underscored by over 20, 000 Nigerians living and working in the UAE.

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