…Targets 81 Routes
…Says We Will Fast-Track IATA Membership, IOSA Audit
The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled the name of the new national carrier as Nigeria Air.
The Minister of State of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika at the unveiling of the name and logo of the airline at the ongoing Farnborough Airshow in London.
Sirika, who unveiled the name in the presence of prospective investors, airline manufacturers and strategic partners, said that the government equity of the organisation will not be more than 5 per cent.
According to him, “It is true that 80% of carriers in Africa are non-African. Nigeria has not been a player for a very long time. We use to be a dominant carrier in the continent of Africa through Nigeria Airways. Sadly, Nigeria Airways is no more. Government has been quite liberal by liberalizing the sector at the tail end of 70s and early 80s to allow private sector to participate in creating a robust airlines that would serve the market, and that would transform the economy of that region.”
He continued, “Unfortunately, the stories of the initiatives which were well recognized and respected, has not yielded the desired goals of achieving a top class, competitive, efficient and vibrant carriers. With the government of Nigeria, it is extremely important that the service is provided. The reason being, there is a service that is needed and also, it will offer employment opportunities that will kick start and ginger and double up and rush the growth of the economy of Nigeria. So we take it as an extremely very important venture. And that is why government thought it has the responsibility upon itself much more than a social in trying to create a new National Carrier that will be typical and private sector led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arraignment.
We have selected 81 of those routes. 40 for domestic, regional and sub-regional and of course International routes, about 41.”
Speaking further, Sirika said, “This airline because it is a PPP, The investors put in their money and strategic partners would decide who runs the airline. This airline is a business and not a social service. It is not intended to kill any airline in Nigeria but complement it and promote it. It must be done in a right way so that it be here to stay. Government will not hold shares beyond 5% at the top most. This airline is having the backing of the government. Government will come up with funding according to the Business Case that has been delivered to government.”
“We will engage the youth of Nigeria because we do believe in the “Not Too Young To Run”. We engage them in the campaign to name this airline. We engage 400,000 Nigerian youth to arrive at the name of the airline. All of their ideas were taken and digested and we came up with what is an average. The airline will take into cognizance the multicultural nature of nation through its diversity. We want to use this airline to make a statement that Yes can we do it,” He said
Part from using the airline to make a statement , the minister said that it would be use to promote our culture and tradition.
He reiterated that there would not be a single government control of this airline and the management, adding that people who invest would determine that.
The Minister added that Nigeria has a polcy where employment goes to Nigerians fist before it goes outside.
On IOSA, He said, “We will fast track our IATA membership and go through IOSA Audit soon. We are not afraid to go through this because we have demonstrated that Nigeria is a responsible state.”