…Proposed national carrier not transparent – Union leader
Project Nigeria Air has hit a stumbling block months after the unveiling of the national carrier’s project logo at the Farnborough Air Show in London, as the Federal Government at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday suspended the project.
Disclosing this to newsmen in Abuja, Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, noted that the decision to suspend the project was strategic and had nothing to do with politics or pressure from stakeholders.
The project had generated major controversies over the months with a lot of unresolved issues from the payment of former workers of the liquidated Nigeria Airways to the fact that the airline had not started processing its certification from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Sirika had disclosed that the airline would take off in December 2018 after the airline’s unveiling in July 18, 2018 even without the commencement of any certification for the project to be legal entity.
Meanwhile, a fortnight ago, Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muktar Usman, said the Nigeria Air Project was on track, stating that as far as the regulatory agency was concerned,
the two major certificates, the Air Transport Licence (ATL) and the Aircraft Operators Certificate (AOC), to be issued by it can be done within 90 days all things being equal.
In a swift response, Secretary General of Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Razaq Saidu, said he has been vindicated, saying that the Minister has no moral justification to forge ahead with Nigeria Air.
Saidu said the unveiling of the airlines logo in Farnborough was done in secrecy.
Saidu said: “Nobody does not want National Carrier, it is the way they are going about it. How can you launch an airline when nothing is on ground? Where is the base; is it going to be Abuja, Lagos or Kano.
What type of aircraft are they using? If you want to manufacture, has it been ordered or will it be manufactured before December or produced down? These are the questions I have been asking without answers till date”.
The ANAP scribe posited that it is wrong to launch a new aircraft with billions of Naira when the old workers of old Nigeria Airways have not been paid their severance allowances.
He explained that the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika, got it wrong from the onset without calling for public biddings from interested technical partners for the rest 95% stake since he claimed that 5% stake would be owned by the Federal Government.
Saidu urged the minister to go back to the drawing board by first settling the former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways before embarking on any other aviation projects.
He described as a waste the £8 million purportedly used to unveil the logo of Nigeria Air in far away Farnborough, London and not allowed the supposed technical partners who are to own majority shares decide on the logo and the name.
He further noted that barely three months to the supposed take-off of the airline, technical crew, cabin crew, administrative staff, office accommodation cum office complex, aircraft and other supportive requirements are not on ground.