The Federal Government has assured that the nation’s national carrier, Nigeria Air would begin operations before May 29, 2023.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this at the 10th National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023, in Abuja.
He said the national carrier project was 98 per cent completed, adding that with successful implementation of the aviation roadmap, it had gulped about $14.166 billion.
He said local and international flights would commence soon, following ongoing negotiations between Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government.
“Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly.
“However, with the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, our overall goal is to grow the aviation sectors contribution from the current 0.6% to 5% (approximately $14.166 billion).”
“Negotiation meetings with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria is ongoing. Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case.”
The minister emphasised that the benefits Nigeria stands to derive from the establishment of the national carrier include reduced capital flight from Nigeria, maximisation of the benefit of Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) and Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and development of an aviation hub.
Also, Sirika said the National carrier will contribute to the country’s GDP, facilitate hospitality and tourism, facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector, and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.
Sirika said the International Air Transportation Association, IATA, in June 2020 made significant contribution to Nigeria’s economy by providing about 241, 000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking further, the minister said the benefits Nigeria stood to derive from the establishment of the national carrier included reduced capital flight from Nigeria; optimal benefit of BASA and SAATM and a developed aviation hub.
He also hinted that the national carrier would adequately contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.