National Carrier Project Remains FG’s Top Priority, Says Sirika

A file photo of the Minister of Aviation. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has reiterated that the establishment of the National Carrier, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and implementation of other components of the Aviation Roadmap remain top priorities of the Federal Government.

He gave the assurance at a meeting with members of the Joint Aviation Unions Forum, an umbrella body of all unions in the aviation sector on Friday at his office in Abuja.

Senator Sirika commended the unions and staff for welcoming him warmly back into office on his reappointment, declaring that he can only deliver to their expectation in an environment of industrial harmony.

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According to him, the establishment of the national carrier would further position Nigeria to compete with other nations, in line with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project and develop as a regional hub for air transportation.

Aviation Roadmap

The minister was also confident that the establishment of MROs would save the country a lot of foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent by airline operators sending their aircraft abroad for checks.

He, therefore, promised to work with the unions in implementing the roadmap which he said would go a long way to advance the sector and position it to meet emerging challenges, while assuring them of continuous improvements to their welfare.

“I promise that there will be good understanding between us to drive the activities of our industry towards contributing more to national development.

“I will do everything reasonably possible to make the newly re-established ministry live up to the expectations of all stakeholders in the sector,” Sirika was quoted as saying in a statement by the ministry’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, James Odaudu.

He added, “This task, I think, is for you as well; not for me alone. It is for all of us. We will continue to hold stakeholders’ meetings with the unions, staff, the management and players within the industry.

“We will be committed to better welfare while expecting your full cooperation towards the implementation of The Aviation Roadmap which was developed during our first tenure.”

Airspace Security

The ministry, according to the minister, will continue to lay emphasis on the safety and security of air travellers.

He said the recent acquisition of a calibration aircraft for the country and the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for rehabilitation were some of the steps being taken to guarantee the safety of the nation’s airspace.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Forum and National President of Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Mr Ilitrus Ahmadu, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring continuity in the aviation sector.

He urged the minister to pick up full throttle from where he stopped, especially in the implementation of the Aviation Roadmap, one of which major aspects was the establishment of a national carrier.

According to Ahmadu, the establishment of the airline will not only guarantee more employment for pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other aviation professionals but also enhance the nation’s international image, being a major player in the aviation world.

He also enumerated other areas which required the minister’s attention to include ensuring the appointment of qualified people into the boards of aviation agencies, in line with their respective Acts.

The union leader also sought the approval of new Conditions of Service for agencies that were yet to have theirs, better funding for capacity building, and the revival of the annual Aviation Week.

FG Suspends Planned National Carrier, Nigeria Air

 

 

The Federal Government has suspended the proposed new National Carrier, Nigeria Air.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the announcement on Wednesday through his Twitter handle.

“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim.

“All commitments due will be honoured.

“We thank the public for the support as always”.

He, however, gave no reason for the decision.

The Federal Government’s decision to suspend a new national carrier follows its unveiling two months ago.

During its unveiling on July 18, the minister said the national carrier will be private sector driven and not a “social service”.

According to him, the Federal Government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new National Carrier.

Sirika explained that the airline will create economic and job opportunities.

“We want to use this new private-sector-led airline to make a statement that, ‘Yes, Nigeria can do it!’ and we want to promote our cultures and traditions. It will also create economic opportunities and jobs”, he added.

 

National Carrier: Nigeria Air To Commence Operations In December, Says Minister

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has announced that Nigeria Air which is the National Carrier will commence operations from December 2018.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during the launch of the name and logo at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.

He said that the airline will fly about 81 routes, 40 for domestic, regional and sub-regional and 41 for international.

The airline will shuttle between the Lagos to Abuja airports which will add 11 million passengers capacity in each of the two airports.

“Lagos currently does 8 million per annum  which was built in 1979 for 200,000 passengers annually while Abuja does 5 million.” He added.

Speaking on the need for a National Carrier, the minister explained that “Nigeria has not been a player for a very long time. We use to be a dominant carrier in the continent of Africa through Nigeria Airways. Sadly, Nigeria Airways is no more.

“The Government has been quite liberal by liberalizing the sector at the tail end of the 70s and early 80s to allow the private sector to participate in creating a robust airline that would serve the market, and that would transform the economy of that region.

“Unfortunately, the stories of the initiatives which were well recognized and respected has not yielded the desired goals of achieving a top class, competitive, efficient and vibrant carriers. With the government of Nigeria, it is extremely important that the service is provided.

“The reason being, there is a service that is needed and also, it will offer employment opportunities that will kick start, ginger, double up and rush the growth of the economy of Nigeria.

“So we take it as an extremely very important venture. And that is why the government thought it has the responsibility upon itself much more than a society in trying to create a new National Carrier that will be typical and private sector led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arraignment.

He noted that the airline will be used to promote the culture and tradition of the nation.

Nigeria’s first national carrier was established in 1958 and stopped operations in 2003 with more than 30 aircraft on its fleet in the 1980s.

FG Unveils Name, Logo Of New National Carrier

 

The Federal Government has unveiled the name and logo of a new National Carrier, known as Nigeria Air.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika on Wednesday disclosed the name and logo at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.

The Minister during the unveiling said the National Carrier will be private sector driven and not a “social service”.

He noted that “This will be a National Carrier that is Private sector-led and driven.

“It is a business, not a social service. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this”.

According to him, the Federal Government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new National Carrier.

The Minister had in January disclosed that the National Carrier would be unveiled this year, although it could not be established as earlier said in 2017.

He has now reaffirmed the FG’s commitment to ensuring that the nation has a functional airline before the year ends.

On job creation, the minister said the establishment of the airline will create economic and job opportunities.

“We want to use this new private-sector-led airline to make a statement that, ‘Yes, Nigeria can do it!’ and we also want to promote our cultures and traditions. It will also create economic opportunities and jobs”.

The minister also noted that negotiations are ongoing concerning the aircraft for the airline which will be announced soon.

“We’ve been talking to Airbus and Boeing (and they’re present at this event) regarding the aircraft for , and we will be making announcements very soon. We are currently negotiating”.

Nigeria’s first national carrier was established in 1958 and stopped operations in 2003 with more than 30 aircraft on its fleet in the 1980s.

Embattled Air India Seeks ‘Urgent’ Loan

 

Air India has announced it is seeking an urgent multi-million-dollar loan to maintain day-to-day operations, highlighting the wretched financial predicament of the country’s debt-stricken national carrier.

In a statement posted on its website this week, the airline said it was looking for a short-term loan of 10 billion rupees ($148 million) “to meet urgent working capital requirements”.

Air India has failed to pay staff their salaries on time for the past three months, according to multiple news reports.

The plea for funds, made on Tuesday but only picked up by media late Thursday, came just days after the government said it had not received any bids in an auction for a majority stake in the beleaguered airline.

The government announced in March that it planned to sell up to 76 percent of Air India but a May 31 deadline passed without any suitors coming forward.

Airlines and other investors were put off by some of the sale terms, forcing the government to go back to the drawing board.

India’s Tata Group, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and IndiGo were all linked to a takeover but subsequently ruled themselves out.

IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, wanted Air India’s international operations but the government refused to carve up the carrier.

Air India, founded in 1932, was once the country’s monopoly airline, known affectionately as the “Maharaja of the skies”.

But it has been haemorrhaging money for years and it has lost market share to low-cost rivals in one of the world’s fastest-growing airline markets.

Successive governments had spent billions of dollars to keep it flying before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet last year gave the go-ahead for a sell-off.

Air India is about $8 billion in the red and reported losses of almost 58 billion rupees for the financial year ending March 2017.

AFP

Nigeria To Get National Carrier Soon – Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has Nigeria will get a national carrier soon in order to take full advantage of the newly launched single African air transport market.

The minister said that the national carrier will be private sector driven.

He made this known while speaking on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia following the launch of the new regional aviation initiative.

The minister had earlier said that Federal Government will ensure the establishment of a national carrier takes place before the end of 2017.

He made the disclosure at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

Nigeria’s first national carrier was established in 1958 and stopped operations in 2003 with more than 30 aircrafts on its fleet in the 1980s.

Nigeria To Establish National Carrier In 2017 – Sirika

Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria, National CarrierThe Federal Government has announced that it will ensure the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria before the end of 2017.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

He led some officials of the Ministry of Aviation to defend the ministry’s 2017 budget at the session with the lawmakers on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Sirika also highlighted some other projects that the ministry would focus on in 2017.

The Chairman of the committee, Representative Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, set the tone of the meeting as the lawmakers began by looking at how well the ministry implemented its 2016 budget.

While scrutinising the 2017 budget proposal of the ministry, some members of the committee expressed concern about the effect of the exchange rate on some of the proposed projects.

The lawmakers had some queries for the ministry and gave the officials two days to submit the outstanding documents.

FG Establishes Committee On National Carrier

Muhammadu-Buhari-Obama-visitPresident Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is revisiting the collapse of Nigeria airways as it establishes a committee on National Carrier.

The committee, which has been mandated to carry out the assignment with vigor, has begun sitting in Abuja.

According to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta-Bello, the establishment of the National Carrier has become inevitable and has been justified by economic consideration, strategic national interest and also job creation.

The ministerial committee has a former Managing Director of Discovery Airline, Captain Mohammed Abdulsalam as the Chairman.

Enugu Airport Commences International Flight

Nigeria’s Aviation sector has recorded another milestone achievement with the commencement of international flight from the Akannu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.

The recent renovation of the fourteen airports across the country is majorly responsible for this feat by Enugu’s Akannu Ibiam International Airport marking its first flight to the South East of Nigeria with Ethiopian National Carrier to Nigeria.

The Minister for Aviation in a chat with newsmen described it as dream come true and a fulfilment of one of the President Goodluck Jonathan transformation agenda to the Nigerian people.

As is expected the outbound flight was fully booked with twenty passengers on standby while it arrived Nigeria loaded to capacity.

Nigerian Aviation industry has however increased its streak of successes as the Ethiopian National Carrier left Nigeria and another is expected to commence international flight from the airport shortly.

The Managing Director FAAN said the feat represent a boost to Nigeria’s economy and that foreign exchange directed to other nations could now be retained in Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation described it as an economic booster to the landlocked Enugu state and a fulfillment if the President’s dream.

Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim described it as a dream come true for the South Eastern states.

FG To Help Nigerian Airlines Acquire New Aircraft

The new plan of intervention fund for the nation’s ailing aviation sector will not involve the release of cash to Nigerian airlines but a funding system will entail the purchase of brand new aircraft that the federal government is negotiating with aircraft manufacturers.

Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi.

The federal government will provide the funds to purchase the new aircraft on stringent conditions and at very low interest rate.

This clarification was made on Channels TV weekend breakfast programme; Sunrise, by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi,  where he explained that the Nigerian airlines that will benefit from the intervention will only enjoy such privilege based on stringent conditions.

According to FAAN’s MD, “the federal government of Nigeria is not buying any number of aircrafts that as being rumoured about. The government is just negotiating with aircraft manufacturers to supply brand new aircraft at globally competitive price to Nigerian airlines and funds to make the purchase will be provided by the government.”

It has been speculated that the federal government was about to purchase about 30 aircraft and practitioners in the aviation sector have been worried about how such aircraft will be distributed to the airlines operating in the nation’s airspace.

But Mr Uriesi debunked the claim about the purchase of 30 aircraft but confirmed the move on negotiating with aircraft manufacturers as part of the road map designed by the Ministry of Aviation to rescue the ailing sector.

He claimed that funds to buy these aircraft will be provided on very low interest rates instead of just giving the airlines funds from the intervention funds as it has being done twice before with no commensurate improvement in the sector.

“The interest rate will be single digit” he revealed.

This system, he notes will help address the issues of old aircraft that are plying the Nigerian airspace.

Merger for national carrier

He also denied reports that the federal government will be launching a new national carrier this year but however hinted that a merger of some notable airlines in the country will occur in the first quarter of the year and this merger will birth a national carrier that will be managed by the private sector.

“The federal government will not launch a new national carrier but it will help some new companies’ access funding to build a new national carrier” stated Mr Uriesi.

He further adds that “a couple of airlines will merge by March 2013 to emerge as the national carrier” and that “conditions that will enhance these developments are currently being put together.”

Part of the stringent conditions to access the scheme will be a thorough corporate governance structure within the prospective airlines.

When asked whether any airline in the Nigerian Aviation sector will be able to meet up to the stringent conditions at present, the FAAN boss claimed that the benefit of this new policy will be too good an offer, which would in turn make the airlines strive to operate even better.
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