FG to float new national airline

Ebun Francis

The federal government will soon float a new national airline, according to the minister of state for aviation,Hadira Sirika. The minister made the pronouncement Wednesday while briefing newsmen at the end of the federal executive council. Sirika said that the initiative will be a  public private partnership and that  a transaction adviser will announced next week to midwife the project.

The minister said, “The most important incentive is that between now and Wednesday, we will appoint transaction adviser for the national carrier.”

“Once that is in place, Nigerians will have options, there will be competition, good aircraft and this will bring the price down.”

He equally explained that the federal government had taken extra steps to ensure some of the challenges faced by some foreign carriers that were threatening to pull out of the country were addressed.

“You know that aviation is dollar denominated, you buy aircraft in dollar, you service in dollar, you train your crew in dollar, you do every thing in dollar. And we simply do not have the dollar to pay these airlines,” he said.

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“But now as we are talking, government through the Central Bank of Nigeria has made available $300 million out of the $600 million of the airlines funds stock in Nigeria to pay the airlines to demonstrate its commitment to the sector.

“And with devaluation, $600 million could be $1 billion. Gradually, we will clear everything and once that happen they are not going to go anywhere.”