A flight belonging to Nigeria Air is about to embark on a journey to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.
Earlier reports highlighted the delay in fulfilling the promise of launching the national carrier before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, just four days before the May 29 handover.
In response, Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, reassured that Nigeria Air would commence operations before Buhari’s term concludes.
During an interview with Channels Television, Sirika stated, “On Friday, in two days, a Nigeria Air plane will land in Nigeria as part of the process to commence operations.
We will unveil the aircraft, including its livery representing Nigeria’s colors, and proceed with the retrofitting and return of those airplanes.”
Sources have informed us that a plane, already painted in Nigeria Air’s colors, is scheduled to arrive in the country from Ethiopian Airlines for a proposed test-flight around the time of Sirika’s interview.
However, it remains uncertain whether the airline will be granted clearance to begin operations or conduct demonstration flights, as this is necessary to secure the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
There is disquiet within the industry over alleged moves by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to waive certain requirements for the airline’s takeoff.
Furthermore, the perpetual injunction against the airline, issued in a lawsuit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), has not been overturned, and the substantive motion challenging the shareholding structure is yet to be heard.
AON expressed its concerns about the legality of the national carrier project in a strongly-worded letter addressed to President Buhari on Thursday.