Minister of Aviation of Nigeria, Until Sirika, He insisted on Wednesday that the controversial national airline of Nigeria Air will soon resume operations.
Mr. Sirika, who briefed reporters after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council, said regulatory approval for the national carrier to fly is in its final stages.
“Nigeria Air will start flying soon, we have the planes ready, they are painted in colors. We’ve crossed all the Ts and dotted the I’s. We are in phase five of the AOC issuance by the NCAA. Once that is done, the airline will start flying,” Mr Sirika said.
“So there are five stages, we’ve done stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and now we’re at stage five, once the AOC is given, the aircraft is ready to fly.”
When the minister was asked for a specific timeline, he insisted that it would be “soon”.
“Well, because the issuance of the AOC is up to the NCAA, but I know it will be very soon, emphasizing soon. So as soon as we get the AOC, then we fly,” he said.
Many Nigerians have criticized the Muhammadu Buhari administration for wanting to launch a new national carrier after the former national carrier Nigeria Airways collapsed due to corruption.
The government, only about three months in office, however, has said the new carrier will be partially government-owned and operated by a private partner.
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However, some local airlines in Nigeria have sued the federal government, asking the court to stop the new national carrier from gaining unfair advantages over other airlines.
The case is still in court.
Mr Sirika on Wednesday said he was not aware of any court order barring the launch of Nigeria Air and would therefore resume operations soon.
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