Nigeria’s Aviation Minster has announced that the project to launch Nigeria Air is nearly complete and that the airline will take-off before the end of the second quarter of 2023, The Cable reported.
During a national aviation stakeholders forum held in Abuja on March 23, 2023, Nigeria’s Aviation Minster Hadi Sirika suggested that the project to launch the new flag carrier was 98% complete, the Nigerian newspaper reported.
According to the Minister, Nigeria Air “in my opinion is at 98 percent completion, and we will fly within these remaining two months by the grace of God,” as quoted by The Cable.
Sirika highlighted that Nigeria Air would launch during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“Before the end of this administration, before May 29th, we will fly,” said Sirika in The Cable report.
Controversy before Nigeria Air’s launch
In October 2022, President Buhari had announced that the project to launch Nigeria Air was 91% complete and that the new flag carrier would launch operations in December 2022.
This followed an earlier announcement in September 2022 where Nigeria’s Federal Government selected Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium as one of the primary investors to partner with the government to launch its new flag carried the Premium Times reported.
The ownership structure of Nigeria Air would see Ethiopian Airlines become a majority shareholder with a 49% stake, leaving Nigeria’s Federal Government with a 5% stake and Nigerian investors and entrepreneurs with a 46% stake.
However, the proposed ownership structure of Nigeria Air was met with opposition after some of Nigeria’s domestic airlines filed to sue the Nigerian Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) over their partnership to establish the airline.