Air Transport: Nigeria’s National Carrier Shares On Offer As Operations Commence

The Federal Government says Nigerians would be allowed to buy shares of the Planned National Carrier, Air Nigeria, which is expected to commence operations with three leased aircraft.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirka, who disclosed this at a forum in Abuja, explained that 46 per cent stake in the airline was exclusively for Nigerians, five per cent for government and 49 per cent for strategic equity partners, who are foreign investors.

She expressed hope that the carrier would be quoted on the stock exchange as discussions with prospective investors had been ongoing and that Request for Proposals would be sent out soon.

In her words: “We will release what is called Request for Proposals very soon, I believe next week this Request for Proposals will describe what and what we are asking for.

“You will now go and send us a document that you are proposing to partner us and this is what you are giving us. Then we will sit down, evaluate, discuss and choose a strategic partner or partners for this airline. So Request for Proposals are going out next week and by the grace of God we will continue to pursue that and people will show up.”

The Minister explained that Nigeria Air is a limited liability company for now, registered under the law of the land and structured in a PPP (public private partnership) manner adding that shares would be acquired just like in any private company and later will be listed and go through IPO (Initial Public Offering).

“The Airline will start with wet-leased aircraft as it would take about three to five years to take delivery of ordered aircraft and that’s how 90 per cent of airlines in the world have started. So we will start with a wet-lease of three aircraft and then continue to expand, place orders and then get deliveries,” she stated.

Sirika noted that the Federal Government would not play any part in running Nigeria Air, rather investors in the carrier would run the business adding that the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility for the carrier and others would begin in Abuja next year.

“On the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility, it will be started in Abuja and government has given 12,000 hectares of land in Abuja for the development of Abuja airport. There will be the MRO facility, a second runway, new terminal building and various businesses. It is going to be a whole airport city.”

He said partners for the MRO had been approached and once approved by the Federal Executive Council, work would start in April 2022, adding that the facility would save Nigeria millions of dollars when functional.

The Transaction Adviser to the government for the national carrier, Capt. Tilmann Gabriel, said the process to secure certification for Nigeria Air is almost concluded.

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