Domestic airline operators under the aegies of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), have commended Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, ‘for suspending every activity related to the perationalisation of Nigeria Air.
The operators said that by the action, the minister has displayed rare courage and great patriotism to save Nigeria from further embarrassment in the aviation world.
A statement by Obiora Okonkwo, the spokesman of AON said aside from stakeholders in the aviation industry, it was evident to everyone who had followed developments around the Nigeria Air project under the immediate past administration that the idea was not only ill-thought-out but also lacked any modicum of transparency.
“It was therefore no surprise that the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation which investigated the process and purported launch of Nigeria Air on Friday, June 2, 2023 described it as a ‘fraud’.
“It remains a puzzle to Nigerians why the processes of actualizing such a major national project was shrouded in almost utter secrecy until the end of the last government.
“However, we remain confident that by suspending the Nigeria Air project to allow for a thorough review, the Aviation Minister will put things right and help restore Nigeria’s image in the global aviation family.”, the statement reads.
The AON said it continues to believe that it is not right to float a national carrier on the terms set out by the last Aviation Minister, which would undermine, even destroy, the aviation sector in Nigeria with Ethiopian Airlines waiting on the wings for total takeover.
“We have no doubt that the new Aviation Minister has the right vision for the development of the sector which is driven by public interest considerations for the good of Nigerians. Again, the AON commends the Minister for the great leadership he has shown so early in his tenure and pledge our unalloyed support in his quest to reform the aviation sector and implement other components ofthe aviation roadmap for the overall good ofthe Nigerian economy.”.
While announcing the suspension of the project and airport concession on Thursday at Lagos airport, Keyamo said: there are issues with concession and other project. I have suspended all of that, including the issue of Nigeria Air. I have given directive to suspend everything until I brief the President. The duty I owe the President is honesty and to rightly advise him, as I am looking at all the agreements and everything that was signed to correctly inform him. I owe my total loyalty to Nigerians to have the best of aviation services.”