FG approves lease of three aircraft

The Federal Government on Wednesday approved the leasing of three aircraft for the commencement of operations of the country’s carrier, Nigeria Air.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the close of the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sirika said the airline would begin with three aircraft manufactured by Airbus and Boeing.

The carrier would operate domestic flights with plans to expand into regional and intercontinental routes, he said.

The minister, however, declined stating the kick-off date saying “We will announce commencement soon.”

Since it was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England in July 2018, Nigeria Air has been mired in controversies that led to its suspension in September 2018, barely two months after its proposal.

The Federal Government, at the time, described the suspension as a “tough decision.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Sirika said, “I presented two memoranda on the national carrier to allow Nigeria to lease aircraft to start operations. That has been approved by the council.”

On the number of aircraft, he said, “We have said in our Outline Business Case, which was earlier approved, that we are starting with three aircraft for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeing because every airline that will grow big uses the two.

“We will start with domestic flights and then we grow to become international and then we move to become regional and intercontinental.”

On aviation safety, the minister revealed that the council approved €1,506,285.70 (N707,962,864.83) for investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau.

Sirika said, “The second memo is the deployment of investigation tools by the Accident Investigation Bureau.”

Article first published on the Punch Website

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