Work on proposed MRO starts April 2022 subject to FEC approval – Sirika

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The minister of aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika has said that the federal government had acquired 12, 000 hectares of land in Abuja for the development of a maintenance repair overhaul facility, terminal building and a second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Runway (NAIA).

Sirika who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday said the MRO for the proposed Nigeria Air would begin next year.

He said partners for the MRO had been contacted and once approved by the federal executive council work would start in April 2022.

He said the facility would save Nigeria millions of dollars when operational.

“On the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, it will be started in Abuja and government has given 12,000 hectares of land in Abuja for the development of Abuja airport.

“In that 12,000 hectares of land, which all of it is a free zone, there will be the MRO facility, a second runway, new terminal building and various businesses. It is going to be a whole airport city.”

On the proposed Nigeria Air, the minister stated that beginning from next week the government would release ‘request for proposals’ to investors interested in owning shares in the airline.

“We will release what is called Request for Proposals very soon, I believe next week. And this Request for Proposals will describe what and what we are asking for.

“You will now go and send us a document that you are proposing to partner us and this is what you are giving us. Then we will sit down, evaluate, discuss and choose a strategic partner or partners for this airline.

“So request for proposals are going out next week and by the grace of God we will continue to pursue that and people will show up,” he said.

Sirika also said 46 per cent stake would be acquired by Nigerians “exactly the way you buy shares in every company.

“This is because Nigeria Air is a limited liability company for now, registered under the law of the land and structured in a PPP (public private partnership) manner.

“So you purchase it the same way you purchase shares in any company and later it is our hope that it will be listed and go through IPO (initial public offering) and so on,” he added.

He also expressed hope that the airline would be quoted on the stock exchange where Nigerians would be allowed to buy shares.

He further disclosed that the airline planned to commence operations with three leased aircraft.

“They will start with wet-leased aircraft and that’s how 90 per cent of airlines in the world would have started. So they will start with a wet-lease of three aircraft and then continue to expand, place orders and then get deliveries,” he added.

Also speaking, the transaction adviser to the government for the airline, Capt. Tilmann Gabriel, said efforts were ongoing to get the airline certified.

“A lot of work has been done and it did not start today, rather it started three years ago. An AOC (air operator certificate) is to be applied for in the next couple of days from the NCAA, which is the regulatory authority,” he stated.

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