BusinessDay

Nigeria Air gets N707.9m for operations

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of N N707,962,864.83 for Nigeria Air, to commence operation, with three aircraft.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika disclosed this while briefing State House Journalists on Wednesday after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He stated that the council also approved the deployment of an investigation tool by the Accident Investigation Bureau, that will permit the accident investigation to decode in flights activities, and God forbid, should there be a need to investigate the accident or incident, the tool will help them to do so.

“That procurement is in the sum of €1,506,285.7 which is equivalent to N707,962,864.83. This will be including taxes at central bank exchange rate of 472 in Euro with the delivery period of 11 months and is awarded to messers Integrated Contract Services Limited for AIB,” Sirika said.

He disclosed that three aircraft were approved in the business plan.

“I said that we are starting with three aircraft, for the first instance, to do the runs and then we progress,” he added.

“As to the make and type, we will be having eventually a mix of the two, the Air Buses and the Boeings …especially for the intercontinental and international flights.”

He disclosed further that the aircraft will start as a domestic airline, while it will grow to become regional and international.

Read also: Airlines cancel, delay flights as aviation fuel scarcity resurfaces

Sirika said the timelines will be announced soon.

Speaking also on how the government is planning to pull this through with the hiccups in the aviation sector, the minister stated that “It is certainly a global phenomenon. I’m very sure you are abreast with the going on around the aviation industry. But suddenly it’s not here forever.”

He described the sector as a “ very resilient one”.

“From time before, it always takes a dip and then come back up. We saw it in 9/11, we saw it in the global meltdown. We saw it in Pearl Harbor, and so on and so forth,” he said.

“So aviation is very resilient. And I think we’ll get out of the problems we are facing.”

“Of particular reference, yesterday all of you were present when we discussed with The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) as to the challenges we’re facing in terms of Jet A1 availability and of course pricing, which is 40% of the operations of the airlines. We’re finding solutions to those problems and the cost of funds also is being attended to. So yes, we will get there. “

Sirika noted that Aero contractors on their own chose to shut down to rejig the airline internally.

“We don’t expect to exclude anybody that will come. Of course, anybody coming to join has to go through full due diligence to avoid all encumbrances,” he noted.

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