The minister of state for Transport, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has unveiled Nigeria’s new national carrier, named Nigeria Air.
The unveiling took place on Wednesday at Farnborough Air Show in London.
The show is the meeting place for aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers, aircraft leasing companies, aviation consultants and marketers.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Sirika said he would explore every opportunity available at the air show to attract more prospective investors into the Nigerian aviation environment.
Mr Sirika explained that the show would provide an opportunity to establish a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul, MRO, facility in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria would also avail itself of the show to explain the potentials in its aviation sector, issue of the concession of some airports in the country and other components of the Aviation Roadmap of the Nigerian government.
Mr Sirika said by December 19, the first five aircraft of the airline would be delivered.
“Negotiating Aircraft orders with Airbus at Farnborough ahead of National Carrier unveiling on Wednesday,” Mr Sirika added.
In a statement by James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, indicated that Mr Sirika, announced that the country was finally on track to inaugurating the national flag carrier to commence operations before the end of the year.
According to him, the national carrier was in fulfillment of the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians in 2015 to give the country a befitting national airline.
The minister expressed confidence that Nigeria would have a well-run national flag carrier that would be a global player, compliant to international safety standards and customers’ oriented.
“The government hope to establish an airline that communicates the essence of our beautiful country, an airline we can all be proud of.
“Following the extensive market research, the branding of our new airline, Nigeria Air, demonstrates a true flag carrier of our nation, soaring through the skies in the shape of our nation’s eagle.
“The Nigerian Government will support the launch of the new flag carrier with viability gap funding, in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to deliver a national flag carrier.
“It will be guided by the international ICAO standards, that will stand the IOSA audit from the start, and lead to a fast IATA membership for international operation,” he said.
However, Mr Sirika assured Nigerians and the international community that government had learnt a lot of lessons from the experience of the defunct Nigeria Airways, and now determined not to repeat the mistakes that led to its demise.
This, he said, informed the decision to take the Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach.
He explained that the unveiling of the airline at the Farnborough International Airshow was due to the fact that it was the largest congregation of global aviation industry players.
The minister said the event gave the best opportunity to market the airline to prospective investors and register it in the minds of all stakeholders ahead of its formal launch billed to take place in Abuja soon.
“The branding and naming of the new national carrier comes on the background of a social media campaign,” Mr Sirika assured.
The campaign was undertaken under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) which invited Nigerian youths for their input and creativity to come up with a name for the new Nigerian flag carrier.
The Facebook page and website name yourairlinenigeria engaged over 400,000 people up until the deadline for submissions, which was on June 25.