At Farnborough Airshow back in 2018, the Nigerian government revealed its plan to launch a new national carrier called “Nigeria Air.” The airline planned to launch the same year, operating to 84 destinations.
With high interests, the government seemed to take action to commence the operation but that did not last a month. On September 2018, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has announced the suspension of plans to start Nigeria Air.
Then, in the past few months, the Nigerian government once again started to revive those scrapped plans and resume talks with relative authorities to bring back Nigeria Air… With support from Ethiopian Airlines.
Based on a report from THISDAY, a Nigerian newspaper, the Nigerian government has confirmed the selection of Ethiopian Airlines as a technical partner and core investor for the establishment of its planned national carrier, Nigeria Air, and the development will be announced soon.
A dependable source from the Ministry of Aviation told that:
“Yes, we have selected Ethiopian Airlines. We have agreed to work with the airline and we are hoping to make the announcement soon. The Ministry of Aviation has picked Ethiopian Airlines since they are the only one that bided. Initially, the Ministry wanted to have more airlines to bid but since others didn’t, they have to pick Ethiopian Airlines. If the Ministry will realise its plan to establish the national carrier, it has to start working immediately with Ethiopian, because there is no enough time.”
From the source, it appears that the Nigerian government made public bidding and only Ethiopian Airlines got interested. While the exact details are not yet revealed, it is likely that Nigeria Air will commence operation regionally with Bombardier Dash 8 and Boeing B737 NG aircraft which are probably leased from Ethiopian Airlines.
Nigeria Air also has already obtained Air Transport Licence (ATL), one step closer to receiving Air Operator Certificate (AOC) that would qualify it to start operation.
The corporate structure is yet to be announced but THISDAY states that Ethiopian Airlines will not invest capital to be a stakeholder instead the airline will only provide technical support and aircraft. Instead, the Nigerian government will have a 5% stake and the remaining 95% stake divided among private Nigerian investors.
From Air Peace, and Green Africa Airways to Nigeria Air, Nigeria revealed numerous plans on opening new airlines, but the plans eventually got abandoned and never shine a light. With the support from Ethiopian Airlines this time, do you think Nigeria Air will be a reality or just another planned dream?