FG Suspends Nigeria Air Project Indefinitely

Nigeria to suspend national airline project

The Federal Government has suspended the proposed new National Carrier, Nigeria Air.

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria's aviation minister, made the announcement shortly after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

The former pilot and promoter of the idea, broke the news on his Twitter handle on Thursday saying: "I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim".

"Following the extensive market research, the branding of our new airline, Nigeria Air, demonstrates a true flag carrier of our nation, soaring through the skies in the shape of our nation's eagle", he said.

"The decision to come up with national carrier in the first place was as a result of the lack of capacity of the existing carrier to meet demands", he said.

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Uko said that in as much as the project was a laudable one, the timing was wrong because it was a political era. The government said at the time that it was in talks with technical partners in the aviation as well as aircraft manufacturers. "We thank the public for the suport as always". "The investors will have full responsibility for this", he added.

A civil servant, Mr Paul Audu said it was honourable, on the part of government, to suspend the project instead of deceiving Nigerians by using it to campaign for 2019 genetal elections. Those against the creation of the national carrier argued against its profitability with the huge resources needed to be invested into it.

"Apart from drawings of airplanes, there are no structures to indicate that a new airline, billed to commence operation in December this year, is being set up; there are no offices, no recruitment of personnel and no form of ground activity anywhere in the country".

Sirika had also stated that the airline would be private sector driven with government controlling only 10 per cent of the equity.

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