Nigeria Air fails to fly 96 hours to end of Buhari’s tenure

The national carrier, Nigeria Air, is yet to begin operations 96 hours to the end of the present administration, Daily Trust reports.

The eight-year tenure of President Muhammadu, which commenced on May 29, 2015, comes to an end on Monday, May 29, 2023.

Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, had insisted that Nigeria Air will fly before the tenure of President Buhari ends.

Sirika spoke while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, last Monday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said all arrangements had been put in place for the take-off of the national carrier.

“Regarding Nigeria Air, yes, we are on course; and by the Grace of God, before President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office, it will fly. We are on course; before May 29, Nigeria Air will fly,” he said.

On February 19, the president had met with Girma Wake, Ethiopian Airlines Board Chairman, during which they exchanged views on the operationalization of Nigeria Air.

Wake had at the meeting in Addis Ababa requested a resolution of the legal obstacle halting Nigeria Air, in which Ethiopian Airlines has 49 per cent stake, from commencing operations.

He had said the airline and its partners were ready to commence operations on Nigeria Air as soon as all the court matters are resolved.

Daily Trust reports that Nigeria Air is a major project under the Aviation Roadmap unveiled by the Minister in 2019 when he started as Minister of State.

In 2018, he unveiled the name Nigeria Air during an airshow in Farnborough London but four years after Nigeria Air failed to fly despite repeated assurances by the President and the Minister.

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The incorporated Trustees of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) comprising Azman Air, Air Peace, Max Air and Top Brass Airlines had sued the Federal Government challenging the shareholding arrangement which makes Ethiopian Airlines the highest shareholder (49) and by implication controller of the airline.

The court had granted an order of perpetual injunction stopping further actions on the airlines and it is not clear when the order would be lifted even as the airline is yet to be issued an Air Operator’s Certificate. Can this be achieved in 96 hours left of Buhari’s government?

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