The Federal Government announced on Thursday that Nigeria Air would launch operations before 29th May 2023, despite the controversy surrounding its inception. Another administration takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari on 29th May.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this at the 10th National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023, in Abuja, said the national carrier project was 98 percent completed, adding that with the successful implementation of the aviation roadmap, it had gulped about $14.166 billion.
He said local and international flights would commence soon, following ongoing negotiations between Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government.
He said: “Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before 29th May, we will fly.
“However, with the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, our overall goal is to grow the aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6 percent to 5 percent (approximately $14.166 billion)”.
Sirika said the International Air Transportation Association in June 2020 made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s economy by providing about 241,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking further, the minister said the benefits Nigeria stood to derive from the establishment of the national carrier included reduced capital flight from Nigeria; an optimal benefit of BASA and SAATM, and a developed aviation hub.
He also hinted that the national carrier would adequately contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector, and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.
Sirika added: “A study showcases the significant contribution of air transportation to the national economy through providing 241,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and a contribution of $1.7 billion”.