New national carrier to take off by December – Sirika


The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has restated that the proposed national airline for the country would be unveiled before the end of the year, Sirika, who gave the assurance while receiving the outline business case certificate of compliance from the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, said the presentation of the certificate indicated official approval of the process through which the project had gone so far.

The minister said the national carrier would be a public/private partnership arrangement, as the only way to deliver an airline that would stand the test of time.

He commended the ICRC director general and his team for ensuring that the national carrier project remains on track by observing all legal aid regulatory frameworks.

Sirika also expressed satisfaction with the way the transaction advisers have carried out their assignments with utmost diligence and timeliness, assuring that the carrier that would be delivered would be world class in operation and management.

He debunked claims that the proposed airline would sound the death knell for other airlines operating in the country, saying Nigeria, with a population of over 180million people with so many unserviced routes, offered more than enough space for all serious airlines to operate profitably.

Earlier, Izuwah described the presentation of the certificate of compliance as an official green light to proceed with the procurement process.

He said his commission, in granting the certificate, reviewed the project structuring report, also known as the outline business case, in line with the ICRC Act of 2005.

According Izuwah, the certificate was granted on the condition that the Federal Government has committed to leveraging on private sector capital and expertise towards the establishment of the national airline through the provision of a viability gap funding for the project.

He gave other conditions for granting the certificate as official commitment to zero contribution to airline management decisions and zero government control, warning that any attempt to impose government control would invalidate the certificate and the entire process.

The ICRC director general commended Sirika for his commitment to changing the face of aviation in Nigeria through infrastructural renaissance. He said the PPP remained the only viable option for the country in view of dwindling national resources.