Ministry of Aviation says, the proposed National Carrier project is still on course as $250 million is expected to be raised by the private investors for start up.
This is contained in a document recently released by the ministry for an update on the project and to reassure Nigerians that the Federal Government is still committed to executing the project.
The establishment of a national carrier is germane for the country not only in flying the flag of Nigeria high in the global air travel industry but also to stimulate activities in the industry and to create employment opportunities.
The carrier christened the Nigeria Air was unveiled in July 2018 in Farnborough, the United Kingdom, unfortunately, months later the project was suspended indefinitely.
However, there is hope that the project may restart soon as work is still on.
The enthusiasm as shown by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika when unveiling the Aviation development roadmap which included the national carrier about 6 years ago is still an assurance that the project will become a reality.
“We believe in what we are doing, we are not doing off the head, we have done our studies, we believe it is doable”.
Commenting on the recent assurance by the ministry of Aviation that the national carrier project is still on course, some stakeholders however expressed reservation on the $250m to be provided by the private investors.
Captain John Ojikutu retired says, government needs to give more explanation on their investment and that of the private investors.
“How many aircraft will it buy? The FG investment is it part of the $250m and how much is the FG investing?”.
An aviation analyst, Mr. Olu Uhuayo is of the opinion that government need not start a national carrier as the two existing airlines currently being managed by the government owed Asset Management Company of Nigeria AMCON, and a new airline in the process by the same government agency should suffice as national carrier.
He suggested that funds for the carrier should be deployed for airport infrastructure development.
“This is not the time to talk about national carrier, events have overtaken it, what we need now is provide infrastructure then you can build a national carrier from AMCON side and build flag carriers from private investors”.
Apart from the national carrier, contained in the aviation Roadmap are the establishment of a Maintenance, Repair and overhaul MRO, center, airport concession and aviation leasing company (ALC)
Others are development of airport cities called aerotropolis, designation of Airports as free trade economic processing zones and aerospace University.
All these projects are at different stages, commencement, and advanced stage in the procurement, negotiation and placement of request for qualification.
Aviation experts say, the roadmap is good but however expressed worry that government maybe biting more than it can chew in executing these projects.
For them, the roadmap remains a map as nothing concrete had been done.
“There is nothing good that is happening to the roadmap, therefore it remains just a map, we should have done better, we could have moved faster in achieving all those beautiful ideas. We are deeply worried and hugely concerned about the haste because due diligence as practiced worldwide have not been done”.
It is left to be seen and heard if the big announcement will come that the suspension on the national carrier has been lifted and other projects completion stages are now 100%.