By Christy Animam
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, said Nigeria would soon get a national carrier operational.
Sirika stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation for the 2023 budget defence in Abuja.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari was also expected to commission one of the two aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in a few days’ time.
The minister said the national carrier is on its way to be launched with 737 and would first concentrate on domestic operations before venturing into an international operation.
He added that the aviation sector had recorded significant improvement in the last few years.
Sirika said: “This significant growth is sequel to the roadmap we are building. Our airports are wearing a new look, especially Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Portharcourt, among others.”
Recall that the federal government had partnered with Ethiopian Airlines to put the Nigeria Air project on the runway, despite disapproval by indigenous operators who cautioned that the deal could negatively affect their survival.
The Nigerian government had acknowledged the fact that country has had some sordid experiences with the formation of a national carrier in the past, but assured that the deal with Ethiopian Airlines would be a different experience for the country.
While the federal government acknowledged that Nigeria is not lacking in capacity with its over 200 million population to exclusively birth a national airline, it however said it “wanted to avoid the issues that led to the collapse of the previous national carrier.”
Nigeria also holds that the choice of Ethiopian Airlines was based on the premise that the airline had severally demonstrated over the years that government business could be run profitably, apart from being an African airline that had carved a niche for itself in the world air transportation industry.