A Nigeria Air flight which reportedly cost Buhari’s government N139.3bn ($300) has set to embark on a journey to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.
According to reports, the flight is currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, getting set for the journey to Nigeria’s capital city.
Nigeria Air is the nation’s proposed national carrier which was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18, 2018.
The project was suspended two months after it was announced after critics raised concerns over its relevance and sustainability. The airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million as preliminary cost and $300 (N139.3bn) million as takeoff cost.
There are concerns that the project is another elephant project as it is yet to begin operation in the last days of Buhari’s government. However, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Minister has promise that the national carrier would fly before May 29.
Speaking in a Channels Television interview, Sirika had said, “On the question of Nigeria Air, on Friday in two days, Nigeria Air plane will land in Nigeria as part of the processes to commence operation. We will on that day unveil this aircraft, the livery and everything in Nigeria’s colours, belong to Nigeria Air and we will proceed to go and do the retrofit and bring back those airplanes.”
Sources had told our correspondent that a plane already painted in Nigeria Air colour was planning to arrive the country from Ethiopian Airlines for a proposed test-flight, as of the time Sirika granted the interview.
It is not clear whether the airline would be cleared to commence operations or demonstration flights as part of the requirement to secure the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) amidst disquiet within the industry over alleged move by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to waive some requirements to enable the take off of the airline.
Also, the order of perpetual injunction issued against the airline in the suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), is yet to be set aside even as the substantive motion challenging the shareholding structure is yet to be heard.
AON had written a strongly-worded letter to Buhari, on Thursday, on what it described as the illegality of the national carrier project.
By Temitope Hassan