NIGERIA plans to bounce back from the losses suffered by its aviation industry during the course of this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic by reviving plans to launch the proposed national carrier Nigeria Air.
Two years ago at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK, aviation minister Senator Hadi Sirika announced plans to launch the national carrier Nigeria Air in December 2018. It was to fly to 80 different destinations and would have had a fleet of 30 aircraft but the project was later scrapped after it was discovered that no budgetary provision had been made for the venture.
This year, Nigeria’s aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as airlines have lost costumers and incurred heavy losses. Senator Sirika said that the country is hoping to bounce back from this by delivering on the new national carrier Nigeria Air in 2021.
He added that adequate preparations had been made and that N78.96bn ($203.4m) had been budgeted in the 2021 Appropriation Bill to implement the plan for a new national carrier, among other projects. According to Senator Sirika, the establishment of the national carrier would be carried out in partnership with the private sector.
Senator Sirika said: “In 2021, the sum of N78.960bn is being proposed for capital expenditure at the headquarters in the aviation ministry and the emphasis will focus on the implementation of the aviation roadmap as directed by Mr President. The roadmap would be implemented through public private partnership topmost of which will be the establishment of a national carrier.”
Other projects to be executed, according to him, are the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility, Agro-Allied Cargo Infrastructure, an Aviation Leasing Company, a Search and Rescue Unit and Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organisation. According to the minister, a total of 10 airports would also come on stream in 2021 with new ones opened in Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Yobe states, while the federal government would take over existing ones in Gombe, Kebbi, Dutse and Zuru.