The federal executive council (FEC) has approved the appointment of Lufthansa, the German carrier, and five other firms as advisers for the set up of Nigeria’s planned national carrier.
According to Hadi Siriki, the minister of aviation, the appointed advisers will help Nigeria set up a national airline and develop its aviation infrastructure to create a hub for West Africa.
Reuters quoted Sirika as saying a group of six firms including German carrier Lufthansa would advise the government on setting up an airline, an aviation leasing company and a maintenance hanger, and on creating concessions to run the country’s airports.
FEC as chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also approved 1.52 billion naira ($4.99 million) of funding for the project.
Sirika said the government is awarding the N1.52 billion contract to “Messrs Lufthansa Consulting/TN Aero FGE, for the national carrier; for the aviation leasing company, it is Messrs Arrow; for the concession of airports, Messrs Infrata Dantens; for the establishment of the MRO, Messrs Arrow; then, the aerotropolis and agro cargo terminals were given to JEBB”.
“All of these were at different amounts but the total sum is N1.524bn. Council had graciously approved and these will signal the kick-start of all of the activities within the transportation and aviation industry,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, promised to set up a national airline for the growth of Nigeria’s challenging aviation industry.
Sirka had said earlier in the year that the national airline will be up and running by the end of 2017, adding that it will be private-sector driven.
“The national airline will be one that the government will have no hand in; normally it can have three percent,” he said.
“It will be private sector-led, private sector-driven. Except with the Ethiopian airline it has been proven that government doesn’t do well with this kind of venture.
“We are going to have a national carrier; it is on course and because it is a PPP thing it has to go through IC and C, and also has to follow all the due process. So it is time-consuming but I hope very soon before the end of the year we will have a very strong viable national airline.”
Nigeria’s previous national carrier was the Nigeria Airways, wholly owned by the government and founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation, but it ceased operations in 2003.