Nigeria has released details of the planned new national carrier Nigeria Air which is due to be launched in April 2022.
The Nigerian government will own no more than 5% stake in the new carrier touting as a fully private sector led airline according to the minister of state for aviation Hadi Sirika on Wednesday.
Sirika said the government will therefore source a strategic partner via a procurement process to take a 49% stake in the new airline. Local entrepreneurs would hold a 46% stake.
“The best case is that the airline will pick up… April 2022 if all things go equal,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Abuja.
The government also hinted that the airline will require initial capital of between $150 million and $300 million.
Nigeria has been seeking to set up a national airline and develop its aviation infrastructure – currently seen as a barrier to economic growth – to create a hub for West Africa.
This is not the first attempt by the Nigerian government to set up a national carrier. Nigeria Airways, in which the government owned a majority stake, folded in 2003.
Air Nigeria, a later iteration of Nigeria’s flag carrier set up with the government and Virgin Group in 2000, pulled out in 2010 due to frustration at what Sir Richard Branson said was interference by politicians and regulators.
Sirika said that Nigeria’s previous state airlines had folded due to problems of governance, but added that this – and any potential problems with capital – would be solved.
By Victor Shalton Odhiambo