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New national carrier, Nigeria Air grounded as FG suspends project indefinitely

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the indefinite suspension of its new national carrier project – Nigeria Air.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika who disclosed this on Wednesday shielded the reasons for the decision.

“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always,” Sirika wrote on Twitter.

The new national carrier, the Nigeria Air, was unveiled in July at the Farnborough International Airshow in London and operations were scheduled to begin in December.

At the unveiling, Sirika had said the airline will be managed by private investors with the federal government owning a five per cent stake in the business.

“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in Aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore,” he said.

“The Nigerian government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new national carrier. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.”

The Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) had given zero government control as the condition for issuing the public-private partnership certificate.

Speaking on the defunct Nigeria Airways, Sirika said “Nigeria Airways died due to so many reasons, including governance issues and also that of finance.

“Nigeria Airways was owned by the government of Nigeria and over time it lost track and lost funding and someone, therefore, decided to shut it down and it died.”

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