Nigeria Air plans flights, airlines set to stop carrier

The Federal Government on Friday has taken delivery of the first plane of the country’s national carrier, Nigeria Air.

This is coming amid protests from local airline operators that it was contrary to a court order, which barred the government from taking further action on the project.

The government received a Boeing 737 aircraft which flew into Abuja from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in readiness for the commencement of local flights.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, claimed that “no law stops development in Nigeria” in response to airline operators’ claim that the government action was in disobedience to a court order.

The minister noted that the delivery of Nigeria Air was an indication that the country would achieve great things in the aviation industry.

According to Sirika, Nigeria Air Limited is a private sector-led airline, with only five per cent of the company owned by the government, adding that the rest is owned by a consortium of entrepreneurs in Nigeria and entrepreneurs in the Ethiopian Airlines consortium, which had been in the pipeline since 2016.

“There were challenges, but we did not allow them to make us lose focus, and today we are here,” Sirika said. “We pray that it will be good for our country, its people, its future, and humanity.”

Meanwhile, Airline Operators of Nigeria faulted the launch of the project on the last day of the current administration, arguing that it was a violation of court orders on status quo ante.

AON described the unveiling of the national carrier as a last-minute disobedience of court order, an attempt to muddle the water through a phantom project, and an effort to “rubbish” the Buhari-led administration.

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