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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Nigeria aims to set up national airline once again

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Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s state minister for aviation, announced the country plans to start a new national airline called Nigeria Air.

Sirika told Reuters that the new flag carrier will take flying before April 2022 in the best-case scenario.

The airline will be owned by a strategic partner who will own 49 percent of the company. A further 46% will be owned by local businesses, with the government holding no more than 5% of the total.

Sirika also stated that the hunt for a strategic partner is set to begin. The required capital is between $150 million and $300 million, and it may be a foreign airline or a financial institution.

Nigeria is not the first country to try to establish a flag carrier. The previous attempt, which was announced in 2018, ended in failure. Experts reported that the effort had been unable to locate qualified investors, but the government rejected this. However, no further explanation was offered.

Nigeria Airways, which had served the country for 45 years, suspended operations in 2003, leaving the country without a national airline.

Virgin Atlantic established Virgin Nigeria as a joint venture with the Nigerian government in 2005. Virgin sold its stake in the airline in 2008, and it was renamed Air Nigeria before ceasing operations in 2012 due to safety issues, groundings, and debt accumulation.

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