- Airline operators in Nigeria have revealed that Nigeria Air has no valid license to fly
- The operators say that if Nigeria Air were to begin operations in October as proposed, it would do so in violation of a court order
- Reports say that the process to clear the airline for flying stalled at stage two
Despite its planned October take-off date, the controversial Nigeria Air cannot fly as airline operators reveal it needs the required clearance to operate.
Media reports say that the spokesman for the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Obiora Okonkwo stated that the if the state-owned airline were to start operations, it would do so without a valid Operator Certificate.
Ethiopian Air reveals date for Nigeria Air take-off
Okonkwo said that if Nigeria Air were to begin operations in October, it would be doing so illegally.
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In a Bloomberg interview on Friday, August 11, 2023, Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines CEO, revealed that the new national carrier would begin operations in October 2023.
Tasew added that Ethiopian Airlines was eager to start flying Nigeria Air on both local and international routes.
There have been controversies surrounding the airline, especially towards the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
FG speaks as process to license Nigeria to fly stalls
Punch reports that the process leading to the complete operations of Nigeria Air stalled at stage two of the AOC process in June 2023, a letter from Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) revealed.
In a telephone interview with Legit.ng, General Manager, Public Relations of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said that the regulator has nothing to do with the air operator’s license.
“Our job is to give the required license. The question should be directed at the airline’s owners, the Federal Ministry of Aviation. They are in the best position to speak on this.”
But Okonkwo, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, stated that any action contrary to the court order would be violating the law.
“The court order is still subsisting, so anything against that is a total violation. Indeed the court would do the needful.
“We have made our position on Nigeria Air known. We don’t have any more time to waste. The industry faces a more serious challenge, which is our priority.”
Hadi Sirika speaks on controversy over amount spent on Nigeria Air project
In June 2023, the former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, stated that contrary to speculations, only N3 billion was spent on the Nigeria Air project.
He said the Nigerian government budgeted N5 billion for the project but ended up releasing N5 billion.
“Between 2016-2023, all the money budgeted for Nigeria Air was about N5 billion, but not all of it was released. About N3 billion was released.
“It Was Them”: Ex-Minister Hadi Sirika says real owners, not federal Government, unveiled Nigeria Air
Legit.ng reported that in a surprising twist, former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has revealed that the unveiling of Nigeria Air as the national carrier was carried out by shareholders, not the federal government.
Sirika made this disclosure during his appearance on Arise TV on Sunday, June 11, 2023.
During the discussion, he dismissed the notion that the Nigerian government was the actual owner of the airline, stating that it was a public-private entity.