The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved April 2022 as the official date for the commencement of the operations of much-awaited Nigeria Air.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this when he, along with Rotimi Amaechi and Dr Zainab Ahmed, Ministers of Transportation, and Finance, Budget and National Planning, respectively, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari today in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the minister, the majority shares of 49 per cent of the Nigeria Air project will be owned by strategic equity partners, 5 per cent by the Federal Government and 46 per cent by Nigerians.
Sirika revealed that Nigeria Air, when operational, would generate over 70,000 jobs, saying, “these 70,000 jobs, they are higher than the total number of civil servants that we’ve in the country”.
He said, “Today in Council, the Ministry of Aviation presented two memoranda. The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including the software support and training, which will be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“In summary, this is the software that’ll allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulations to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, follow-ups on personnel licenses, medicals, economic regulation of airlines, safety regulations of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation, will be monitored by this single software. So, that has been approved.
“This one also is the approval of the Outline Business Case for the establishment of the National Carrier.”
Meanwhile, in over six years in office, the Buhari government has failed to actualize a national carrier.
Sirika, a self-acclaimed “Buharist”, had given the time frame for the start of Nigeria Air at least thrice.
In March last year, he promised that the proposed airline would fly local routes from the third quarter of 2021.
In May this year, Sirika said the carrier may start operations in the first quarter of 2022. The minister put the blame on the COVID-19 pandemic.