The minister of aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria Air will launch operations soon as its Air Operating Certificate was being expected this February.
The minister is quoted in a report by AeroTime as saying that all the necessary processes and documentation for the takeoff of the national carrier had been completed and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the airline will be good to start operations in the first quarter.
“Nigeria Air has applied for the Air Transport Licence which has been issued, and now they’re applying for an AOC. I believe that one week from today, it should be able to get the AOC issued or within two weeks maximum. And that will signal the beginning of the establishment of the carrier itself [which can then begin flying). So, the airline is on its way, and it will be soon. It will be launched within this quarter, it will be flying within this quarter, and it will give Nigeria the service that has been eluding it,” he said.
Sirika also explained the process of setting up an airline saying: “There is a process to establishing an airline and that process is driven by the CAA of Nigeria, which is the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and it comes in phases: phases one, two, three, four, and five. Those processes must happen.”
He added: “But before those processes will happen, because it is a private-public partnership, it must go through the Infrastructure, Concession Regulatory Commission, starting by establishing a consultancy firm transaction advisor to make a business case and to see whether it is a viable bankable project. And that has been done. It took, of course, about two years to do.
“So, you must study the market in at least two cycles. That happened, the outline business case was produced, which looked very good, and it was approved by the ICRC. Then it was taken to the Federal Executive Council, [where it was] also approved. And then, before now, we went to [the] public to invite for tenders for bidders, which is the procurement process.
“In that procurement process, Nigeria Air ended up having Ethiopian Airlines as a partner with 49 per cent, and then five per cent is for the Government of Nigeria, and 46 per cent’; Nigerian entrepreneurs and companies coming together to own the rest. Now this would be the structure of the airline.”