Nigerians have lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari for finally fulfilling the promise made in 2015 when he took up the mantle of leadership to give the country a befitting national airline.
This is as the Nigerian Government today, Wednesday, 18th July, unveiled the name of the proposed new National Carrier as “Nigeria Air”.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made this known while unveiling the airline to investors at the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show in UK.
A statement by Mr James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, indicated that Sirika, announced that the country was finally on track to inaugurating the national flag carrier to commence operations before the end of the year.
The minister expressed confidence that Nigeria would have a well-run national flag carrier that would be a global player, compliant to international safety standards and customers’ oriented.
He said, “Following the extensive market research, the branding of our new airline, Nigeria Air, demonstrates a true flag carrier of our nation, soaring through the skies in the shape of our nation’s eagle.
“The Nigerian Government will support the launch of the new flag carrier with viability gap funding, in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to deliver a national flag carrier.
“It will be guided by the international ICAO standards, that will stand the IOSA audit from the start, and lead to a fast IATA membership for international operation.”
Even though Sirika has assured Nigerians and the international community that government had learnt a lot of lessons from the experience of the defunct Nigeria Airways, and now determined not to repeat the mistakes that led to its demise, an air of skepticism still rents the air with Nigerians registering concern at the sustainability of the airline, saying that the defunct national airlines like Virgin Nigeria, Air Nigeria and even Nigeria Air that has now been resurrected, did not see the light of day.
Sirika said, the determination to sustain the airline informed the decision to take the Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach, adding that unveiling of the airline at the Farnborough International Airshow was due to the fact that it was the largest congregation of global aviation industry players.
The minister said the event gave the best opportunity to market the airline to prospective investors and register it in the minds of all stakeholders ahead of its formal launch billed to take place in Abuja soon.
“The branding and naming of the new national carrier comes on the background of a social media campaign.
The campaign was undertaken under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) which invited Nigerian youths for their input and creativity to come up with a name for the new Nigerian flag carrier.