The House of Representatives has picked holes in the activities relating to the purported launch of Nigeria Air on 26 May, 2023, spearheaded by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
According to the House members, the said launch of the airline as a national carrier which took place a few days to end of Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, was an attempt to deceive Nigerians, especially the Minister, who had promised that the Nigeria Air would begin operations before end of Buhari administration.
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Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, declared that the whole process of the launch of Nigeria Air was fraudulent, as the major stakeholders in the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.
The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.
This is coming on the heels of the revelation by Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dayo Olumide, that the aircraft that flew into the country on the day of the said launch was a chartered flight from Ethiopia.
Olumide disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to clarify the myriads of controversies surrounding the prospective airline.
He stated that the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days clearance from Ethiopia and was later returned to base.
He argued that it was normal for anyone in need of flight services to hire one and that was what the airline did.
He maintained that all they did was to unveil the airline, to show Nigerians, especially the stakeholders, what the aircraft would look like.
He also disclosed that the Nigeria Air does not have a licence yet to operate an an airline, adding that for it to get the needed licence, Nigeria must have three aircrafts before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will give the country air license to fly and the three aircrafts must be Nigeria registered aircraft.
According to him, there are five steps that one has to undertake to get the license but they are still in the first stage.