BREAKING: FG stops Nigeria Air project indefinitely

By Innocent Raphael

The federal government has announced the indefinite suspension of the Nigeria Airline project.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Festus Keyamo, made the announcement on Monday during a ministerial briefing commemorating the first year of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Keyamo stated that the airline was not genuinely Nigerian but rather an attempt to disguise a foreign airline as a national carrier.

The indefinite suspension of the Nigeria Airline project marks a significant turn in the long, troubled history of Nigeria’s attempts to establish a national carrier.

Established in 1958, Nigeria Airways was the first national airline of Nigeria. It operated for several decades, serving as a symbol of national pride and playing a crucial role in the development of the country’s aviation sector.

However, cases of mismanagement, corruption, and financial difficulties reportedly led to its demise in 2003.

Following the collapse of Nigeria Airways, the Nigerian government made multiple attempts to revive a national carrier.

Efforts included partnerships with private investors and foreign airlines, but these were often marred by similar issues of mismanagement and lack of sustainable business models.

In 2018, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Nigeria Air project was unveiled with great fanfare at the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom.

The project aimed to re-establish a national carrier that could compete regionally and globally. The initiative promised significant economic benefits, job creation, and enhanced connectivity.

Despite the ambitious plans, the Nigeria Air project faced numerous obstacles, with critics pointing to unrealistic timelines, lack of transparency, and insufficient funding.

Going forward too, there were concerns about the actual ownership and operational control of the airline, with suspicions that it might not be fully Nigerian-owned.

The announcement by Keyamo emphasizes these ongoing concerns.

His statement that the airline was an attempt to disguise a foreign airline as a national carrier highlights the transparency and authenticity issues that have plagued the project from the start.

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