FEC Okays April 2022 For Nigeria Air To Begin Operations

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By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja

The new national carrier, Nigeria Air will commence flight in April 2022.
This is barring any unforeseen circumstance, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has disclosed
Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Sirika said FEC has given  approval for the commencement of operation by the carrier.
The Minister said the Federal Government and Nigerians would own only 51percent equity in the airline.
He explained further that the Federal Government will have not more than five percent equity shares, Nigerian entrepreneurs 46 percent equity, while the would be international strategic partners will have 49 shares in the new national carrier.
According to him, the new national carrier when it becomes operational, would generate about 70 thousand jobs, a figure he  said is higher than the total number of federal civil servants in the country.

Sirika said over 400 thousand Nigerians participated in choosing the name which was launched in 2018.
His words: “Today (Wednesday) in Council, civil aviation presented two memoranda. The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including software support and training, which will be located in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. 
“In summary, this is a software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulation to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, including follow ups on personnel licensing, the medicals, the economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation will be monitored by this single software. 
“It is called ‘the truth machine’ in quotation in Europe, because all of the truth of regulation of civilization will appear on this platform, it’s an extremely important software that the world has now come to terms with.
“The contract was given to Messrs. Arif Investment Nigeria Limited, who are representatives of Empik GmbH. This Empik are the creators of this software, one of its kind in the world, at the sum of N1,492,520,325, which will be including 7.5% VAT and completion period of six months. So that’s the first memoranda. 
“The next one also is approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before Council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by Council.
“The structure of the proposed airline; government will be owning not more than 5%. So 5% is the maximum equity that government will take, then 46% will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs. So, if you add that, it’s 51%. So, it’s 51% majority shareholding by Nigerians and then 49% will be held by strategic equity partner or partners that will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase. 
“This airline, if started, and within the first few years will generate about 70,000 jobs. These 70,000 jobs are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country. Its importance had been well discussed so, I’ll not go back to it. You had discussed it separately also on various fora as to the need for it. 
“But one important item is the AU agenda 2063, which speaks to integration of Africa, which speaks to the cause and trade within Africa that is intra-Africa and to which also another flagship project of AU agenda 2063 called the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). 
“Now, the only way, the quickest way that you can integrate Africa is by air because if you want to interconnect all the 54 nations of Africa, via rail or road, or waterways, which is even impossible, the quantum of money that you need to do all of these, the time it will take to develop this infrastructure, as well as the maintenance cost, is almost prohibitive. 
“It’s doable, it’s time-taking, but with aviation, within a year, once the right policy is in place, like SAATM, you can connect Africa and then of course, the needed integration will happen. Part of AU agenda 2063 So, these are the two memoranda that were submitted, and gladly they were passed by Council.
“The name is Nigerian Air which of course, if you remember back in time, this was subject to national debate and 400,000 people participated, choose the name, the colour, the logo, everything and it was produced that time. It was launched also in Farnborough as far back as 2018. 
“So, the business case is a public document. It will be on our website, you can download it and we can give you copies. This airline will pick up and start, by God’s grace, on or before April 2022.”

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