Nigeria’s new national carrier to take-off with three planes

Friday November 26 2021
Nigeria Air

Journalists gather next to a Nigerian Eagles Airline plane during its launch in 2009. The new Nigeria Air will be the country's national carrier. PHOTO | AFP


Nigeria is floating a new national airline Nigeria Air, 18 years after national carrier Nigeria Airways was liquidated due to inefficiency and debt.

The new national carrier will to start operations in April 2022 with its three planes under a wet lease from Europe, said Mr Tilmann Gabriel, the transaction adviser to Nigeria Air.

It was approved on Wednesday by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika announced on November 24, 2021 that the FEC approved the take-off of the new airline, after a failed attempt in 2018 to float the national carrier.

Mr Gabriel, a seasoned aviation consultant who has been a part of many start-up airlines across the world, described the lease as the easier, cost-effective way to start an airline.

The veteran flight Captain added that conversations with other lessors in Europe had begun.


“We are taking to leasing companies but at the same time, we are ordering for new aircraft. With the wet lease, the lessor will provide the aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance. This will also reduce the rigor of certifications,” Mr Gabriel said.

Minister Sirika confirmed that the name and the logo of the airline were already approved.

Majority shares of (49 percent) of the Nigeria Air project will be owned by strategic equity partners, 46 percent by Nigerians and the Federal Government will own five percent, he said.

The minister further said that Nigeria Air, when operational, would generate more than 70,000 jobs. This number is “higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country,” he added.

The defunct Nigeria Airways collapsed leaving 78 planes that have since dilapidated, and a huge debt of more than $528 million (equivalent to $742,810,420 in 2020).

Nigeria Airways, as it was known at the time of ceased operations, was founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation and held the name WAAC Nigeria until 1971. It the rebranded to Nigeria Airways until it ceased operations in 2003.