The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that the newly unveiled Nigeria Air would take delivery of 35 aircraft within the next five years.
The Minister disclosed this on Friday evening while taking delivery of one aircraft, Boeing 737-800 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja.
TheFact Daily reports that the ownership structure of Nigeria Air consists of Ethiopian Airlines as a majority shareholder with a 49% equity while Nigerian entrepreneurs and companies, namely MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund hold a 46% stake.
The remaining 5% stake is held by the Federal government.
However, sirika said, “there is no sentiments to this. This is one infrastructure that has been missing in the general aviation dynamics of the country.
“The airline that is equal to the size of the market, the dynamics of the market of Nigeria, to its geography and the fortunes of the country. Indeed, we do need the kind of infrastructure that we’re having today in the name of Nigeria limited.
“This Nigeria Air limited, obviously, is an entity known to Nigerian laws. There is a partnership between entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the entrepreneurs in Ethiopian airline Consortium. Consortium is a company belonging to many partners, and it’s very long journey.
“We started in 2016 and it ended up today. There is a history behind all of these. There were challenges down to one for that matter. We didn’t allow them to make us lose focus. We stayed with the eyes on the ball and today we’re here”.
“The aeroplanes will be coming one after another. And until in the next five years, according to the business case, we achieve the 35 aircraft mark, from there it continues.”
Reacting to the pending litigation, the Minister said, “it is not subjudice. There’s nothing that stops us from continuing to bring developmental projects to our people.
“The constitution of Nigeria is very clear that it is within their rights to go to court for whatever reason they want to go to court, and it’s also within our own rights to do all the things that will promote the general well being of Nigeria and Nigerians and this is one of it.” he noted.
The chief commercial officer, Ethiopian Airline, Lemma Gudeta, who commended the effort of the federal government said, the project would ensure economical development for Nigeria.
He assured that Nigeria Air would be a one billion dollars project in five years time.
“As far as the initial business plan that we are working on in collaboration with stakeholders in the consortium is concerned, Nigerian air will be a 1 billion US dollar company in five years time”, he said.