The federal government said on Wednesday that Nigeria Air’s scheduled take-off in December will go ahead despite opposition to the plan from domestic airline operators.
Operators of the national airline in Nigeria have kicked the project on the grounds of making Ethiopian Airline a major investor in the venture.
But Aviation Minister Senator Hadi Sirika in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the interactive session the Senate Aviation Committee had with the minister, heads of aviation sector agencies and operators of national airlines, said they would not go back on the planned project. take off in December of this year.
“Nigeria Air is a company registered and known to the laws of Nigeria which will by the grace of God become the long-awaited airline.
“It will happen by the grace of God by December of this year. It will fly and compete fairly with all of these existing airlines.
“The intention is not to kill a business. The intention is to help promote all businesses so that they are able to provide the necessary service and employ our employees.
“That’s the intention and the more the merrier the better. The more people doing business then whoever does it best gets the edge and they provide more service and people are better served.
“If each one of them is doing very well without any favoritism, it means that the competition will be healthy and will bring down the price of tickets and increase the propensity to steal and encourage more people to fly, and then make more money for airlines and give more service to Nigeria country.
“The idea is very good. Let it be established by the grace of God, it will be established and it will be for the people,” he said.
In their presentations to the committee, the national airline operators said they were not against National Carrier but against Ethiopian Airlines as a major investor with a 49% stake.
National airline operators who have voiced their opposition to the plan by Top Brass Aviation chairman and former Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) chief executive Roland Iyayi have said the plan as it stands is designed today is hostile to domestic operators.
He said one of the national airlines believed to have been used to pilot the project, such as Ethiopian Airlines, will knock local operators out of the market within two years with a much-appreciated incentive of 15 years of tax holidays.
“Ethiopia has no program to develop Nigeria. Ethiopia’s agenda over the years has been on aviation colonialism in Africa.
“The National Carrier or Nigeria Air project, if well implemented, would be a good legacy, but as it is currently conceived, it will end up being a legacy that will lead to the demise of local airlines,” said he declared.
Seemingly troubled by the conflicting submissions from the minister and the national airlines, the committee chaired by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), decided to have another session with them in two weeks to come out with contentious issues before take off from the plane. Air Nigeria.
The flag carrier as it is currently presented, through Nigeria Air Limited, has 49% share control by Ethiopian Airlines, 5% by the federal government, while the remaining 46% is owned by individual investors. .