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Britain to reopen foreign holidays to just a handful of countries - RETUERS

MAY 07, 2021

BY  Sarah YoungKate Holton

Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive from Paris at Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls


Britain will allow international travel to resume from May 17 after months of banning most trips abroad, but nearly all major destinations were left off its list of countries open for quarantine-free holidays.



Just 12 countries and territories made the so-called "green list". They include Portugal, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and the tiny Faroe Islands.

The top four destinations - Spain, France, Italy and the United States - were among those left off, angering stricken airlines and holiday companies battling for survival. Those four sit in the amber category, requiring self-isolation for those returning to the UK.

Turkey, another big holiday destination, was added to a red list. Thatrequires travellers to spend 10 days in managed hotel quarantineon their return, which they must pay for themselves.

While a legal ban on all non-essential international travel will be lifted for the first time since January, the government said people should still avoid travelling to countries on the amber or red lists for leisure.

"Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don’t throw away the hard-fought gains we’ve all strived to earn this year," transport minister Grant Shapps said.

Airlines, holiday companies and tourist hotspots in southern Europe have been waiting for big-spending Britons to start travelling again, but they will have to wait a few months longer for a full rebound to take off.

With Portugal as the first major Mediterranean holiday destination to make the green list, Thomas Cook and Club Med said bookings there were already up 250% on last Friday. TUI said it had added more flights to Portugal.

The list will be reviewed every three weeks. It applies only to people from England for now, but devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to accept it too.

Those travelling to countries on the green list will have to take two COVID-19 tests, one before arrival back into the UK and one within two days of returning.

'EXCESS OF CAUTION'

Trade bodies for pilots and airlines, airports and holiday groups said Britain was being excessively cautious and such a limited reopening would continue to drag on an industry that had taken great strides to manage safe travel.

Experts have also said prices could shoot up for bookings to the few places on the green list. Shapps said airports could also see longer delays as COVID-19 test results must be checked.

Many destination countries also have their own requirements, with many still effectively closed.

"This excess of caution from the government is extremely disappointing for everyone who works in the travel sector," Brian Strutton of the British Airline Pilots Association said.

The travel industry had argued that Britain's rapid vaccination programme should enable it to open up more quickly. But the government has prioritised efforts to prevent coronavirus variants from entering the country.

Heathrow Airport, the country's biggest, and British Airways (ICAG.L) both urged the government to add more countries to the green list when it next reviews travel in early June, and to let those who have been fully vaccinated travel without restrictions.

"The government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last-minute bookings," Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said.

Before the announcement, the head of British Airways-owner IAG had also called on the UK and the United States to open a travel corridor, given their high vaccination rates. 

($1 = 0.7208 pounds)


U.K. Reopens Travel to 12 Locations as Tourist Hotspots Miss Out - BLOOMBERG

MAY 08, 2021

By , and 

  •  Portugal is only major European leisure market on ‘green list’
  •  Minister says most nations don’t measure up to safety criteria

Britain will permit relatively open leisure travel to just 12 nations and territories including Portugal as it seeks to restart tourism while keeping control over the coronavirus pandemic.

A legal ban on international leisure trips will be eased from May 17, the Department for Transport confirmed on Friday. Return journeys from approved countries will require Covid-19 tests but no period of quarantine.

Also on the “green list” with Portugal and its island provinces of Madeira and the Azores are Israel, Iceland, the Faroes, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia, together with the British territories of Gibraltar and the Falklands. There’s no place for the European holiday hotspots of Spain, Greece and France, and trans-Atlantic trips vital to some airlines remain on hold.

Trailing the Pack

EU sun spots see a faster travel rebound than the U.K.

Source: OAG

Note: Weekly seat capacity compared with 2019 levels

With the relaxation of border controls, the U.K. has put itself at the leading edge of attempts to return tourism to normal. The resumption of travel will also give an economc boost after the country rolled out vaccinations faster than the European Union following its split from the bloc. Still, the limited reopening drew a mixed response from travel firms and was dismissed as “very disappointing and frankly not worth commenting on” by International Air Transport Association Director General Willie Walsh.

“The only route out of this pandemic is a careful, prudent and responsible one,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a Downing Street briefing. “The reason there aren’t more places on the list is there aren’t more places that are in the fortunate position that the U.K. has got itself in.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to protect hard-won gains after Britain suffered some of the highest global death rates earlier in the crisis. The list will be revised every three weeks as infection rates change and inoculations gather pace elsewhere.

Tight Limits

The reopening of the vacation destinations of Portugal and Madeira will provide some cheer for short-haul airlines and travel firms, though only the latter is fully open right now. Several other approved destinations also have tight limits on incoming passengers.

British Airways Chief Executive Officer Sean Doyle welcomed the U.K. plan and said extra flights to Portugal’s Algarve holiday coast had been added by the carrier, while calling for more markets to be reopened before the end of June.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. called the development an important step but said the government had been “overly cautious” and that there’s no reason the U.S. shouldn’t be immediately added to the green list. Its concern was echoed by EasyJet Plc and the British Airline Pilots Association.

Under the new “traffic-light” system, destinations seen as having a moderate risk are allocated to an “amber” list, requiring passengers entering Britain to self-isolate for 10 days, while those from high-risk “red” countries must quarantine in a hotel for the same period.

Champions League

Shapps said people shouldn’t visit red-list countries except in the most pressing circumstances, and also discouraged them from flying to amber nations. Britain will “turn the key slowly” in adding new locations and others will be placed on watch if there are concerns about infections, he said.

The U.K. red list has meanwhile been expanded to more than 40 territories, including Turkey, which is due to host this year’s Champions League soccer final featuring two English teams. Shapps said fans shouldn’t travel and that the match could alternatively be hosted in Britain.

London Heathrow airport chief John Holland-Kaye said the government had made “a positive start to reunite families, boost international trade and allow overseas holidays,” while cautioning that delays at the immigration booths that have stretched to more than six hours must be addressed with “every desk staffed at peak times.”

Holland-Kaye said last month that Spain and Greece, both among the most popular holiday destinations for Britons, could be green-lighted for June and July respectively, and that he was hopeful U.S. routes would reopen soon, at least for Americans visiting the U.K.

The Falklands reopening includes the other British south Atlantic territories of South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, while entry to Israel includes the whole of Jerusalem.

— With assistance by Emily Ashton

(Adds response from travel companies starting in fourth paragraph)

FG to Raise $250m for National Carrier - THISDAY

MAY 08, 2021

BY  Chinedu Eze 


The federal government has said it expects to raise about $250 million from the private sector to float it proposed national carrier, which is now at the stage of procurement phase.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Aviation in a publication titled, ‘Status of the Road Map/PPP Projects’ and made available to THISDAY.

The publication stated that the next steps would involve the commencement of procurement phase by placing adverts for request for qualification in the national dailies and foreign media.

The federal government explained that the establishment of a national carrier would enable Nigeria gain optimal benefits from Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), take full advantage of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and introduce competition, leading to competitive fares and services as well as to generate employment.

“The national carrier project will be private sector driven, with government holding not more than five per cent of the shares. The private sector consortium may comprise reputable international airlines, such as Qatar Airways, leasing companies, aircraft manufacturers (OEMS), financial and institutional investors,” the publication stated.

It noted that government would provide the required support by creating enabling environment in terms of sustainable policies, allocation of BASA, routes provision, financial guarantees and ensuring fiscal incentives to sustain the success of the airline.

Government explained that the project development phase has been completed with the development of the outline business case (OBC) and subsequent issuance of compliance certificate by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), adding that the next step would be placement of request for qualification (RFQ) in local and international media.

On aircraft leasing company, the federal government said the leasing company would provide leasing opportunities for Nigerian and African airlines in order to boost fleet size; alleviate the problems of aircraft leasing and the attendant high insurance premium charges.

“The aircraft leasing company has been structured as a joint venture between the government and the private sector and its business objectives will be to initially lease aircraft from international lessors and subsequently sub-lease to African airlines and in the future acquire and own its aircraft.

“Government is considering providing financial guarantee and ensuring fiscal incentives to facilitate the success of the leasing company,” the Ministry said. Government also said it is at advanced stage in the procurement phase and that a preferred partner has been selected and negotiations would soon commence, adding that the next move would be to commence negotiations with the preferred bidder.

On airport concession, the federal government said the concession of the four major airports in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt would help fast-track, upgrade and enhance their operational efficiency, profitability and reposition them to operate competitively.

“The project is being structured as a terminal concession under Public, Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the government and the private sector, were the private investor will be required to upgrade, manage and operate the airport terminals over the concession period,” the Ministry of Aviation said.

On the status of project development, government said the development phase has been completed with the development of the Outline Business Case (OBC) and subsequent issuance of compliance certificate by the ICRC.

The next step on airport concession would be placement of request for qualification for local and international media. These three major projects were what the President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration would accomplish in the aviation sector.

Others include establishment of Aerospace University and designation of airports as free trade/economic processing zones. But as the second tenure of the administration has gone half way through, these projects are still far from being completed.

The Managing Director, Flight and Logistics Solutions, Amos Akpan told THISDAY that there was not much time left for the Buhari’s administration to realise the projects in the aviation sector. He said if government has money it could realise some of the projects but currently government is broke so it cannot float an airline and that it takes time for the private sector to fund such project because they would look at many variables, including environmental needs, due diligence, risk assessment and environmental assessment.

Akpan said investors would also compare investing in Nigeria and investing in other countries in the continent and make comparison, adding that it would not be easy at this time for the private sector to commit funds in any project in the country.

Akpan said, “The government has more critical areas that contend for the funds available than to use it to float national airline within one year and six months. If they invite private investors, there are procedures those investors need to go through before decision to participate is taken. “They would carry out risk analysis on the proposed investment portfolio. They will carry out due diligence on the subject of investment. There is also the issue of comparative analysis on the environment, which is best environment amongst available options?”

Immigration rescues seven female victims of sex trafficking en-route Europe - DAILY POST

MAY 08, 2021

By Khaleel Muhammad

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has rescued seven suspected victims of sex trafficking en-route to Europe.

They were rescued while trying to cross to Niger Republic, en-route to Europe.

Jigawa State Controller of NIS, Ismaila Abba Aliyu said the arrest was made by the personel of Operation Salam, along Kazaure Babura axis in the State.

He explained that the victims with no valid travelling document were planning to cross Niger Republic, Libiya to Europe.

The suspects, between the age of 16-27 are indigenes of Lagos, Kwara, Imo and Ogun states.

The agent was awaiting the victims in Niger Republic and planned to convey them to Libya through deserts.

The Comptroller, however revealed that no incriminating item or substance was found in their luggages.

He said the victims would be handed over to National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) after investigation.

‘Excess of caution’ in approach to return of foreign travel, says industry - PA

MAY 08, 2021

BY  Tom Pilgrim, PA

The Government’s approach to the partial return of foreign holidays suffers from an “excess of caution” and will “delay” the travel industry’s recovery, sector leaders have said.

Travel bosses demanded greater “clarity” over the formation of the green list of destinations and urged ministers to find ways to reduce the costs of Covid testing for holidaymakers and lengthy queues at the border.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Friday that just 12 countries and territories are on the green list of destinations that people in England will be permitted to visit from May 17 without self-isolating on return.

Meanwhile, popular European destinations such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece are on the amber list.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade organisation Abta, said this represented “a slower and more cautious approach than previously outlined” which would “delay the industry’s recovery”.

He added: “We understand that public health is the Government’s priority, and it was always expected that the return to international travel would be gradual, but the Government must use the next review to open up travel to more destinations, using the traffic light system to manage risk.”

Mr Tanzer also said the Government should provide grants to businesses such as travel agents and tour operators to support them through “what will continue to be difficult times ahead”.

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren called on the Government to provide “clarity” about which countries could be added to its green travel list.

“The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy,” he said.

He added: “So, we call on Government to provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list so that consumers and airlines alike can plan for this summer.”

Mr Lundgren also urged the Government to “drive down” the cost of testing and remove it for green countries.

“Green really should mean green,” he said.

Mr Lundgren said easyJet will be increasing its flights to green list destinations and launching new routes where possible.

British Airways (BA) chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle said: “What’s clear is that with high levels of vaccination in the UK being matched by other countries, we should see more destinations going ‘green’ before the end of June.”

But he added: “It’s disappointing to hear that despite the stringent safeguards introduced for travel from ‘amber list’ countries, the Government is now suggesting travellers avoid these.

“We cannot stress more greatly that the UK urgently needs travel between it and other low-risk countries, like the US, to restart the economy, support devastated industries and reunite loved ones.”

He said BA would be laying on additional flights from England to Portugal.

Airlines UK, an industry body which represents UK carriers, said the Government must make “major additions” to its green list of travel destinations at the next review point in three weeks.

Chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “This is a missed opportunity and, with so few countries making it on to the green list, represents a reopening of air travel in name only.

“By contrast, the EU has said vaccinated people will be able to travel without restrictions, which leaves the UK at risk of falling behind and not opening up international travel to key markets across Europe as well as the United States.”

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots’ union Balpa, accused the Government of an “excess of caution” over its handling of the planned return of foreign holidays, adding that it is “extremely disappointing for everyone who works in the travel sector and the millions of people who are desperate to jet away on holiday or business”.

“Almost all tourist hotspots in Europe including Spain, France and Greece are in the amber category, which is as good as red as far as most tourists are concerned, with potential 10-day quarantine needed on return,” he said.

Mr Strutton added: “Tourists are sat gazing at the amber light, revving their engines, desperate to travel safe in the knowledge that their jabs will protect them. The Government must flick those amber lights to green as soon as it possibly can.”

Heathrow Airport’s chief executive said the Government must “urgently address the unacceptable situation” at the UK border where travellers face long immigration queues.

John Holland-Kaye said: “The Government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last-minute bookings.

“The Government also needs to urgently address the unacceptable situation at the border, where passengers can wait for longer than their flight to the UK.

“Long immigration queues are an inevitable result of under-resourcing, not an inevitable result of extra checks.”

Twenty-five investors eye airline business as road insecurity worsens - PUNCH

MAY 09, 2021

BY Okechukwu Nnodim



More investors are now showing interest in floating airlines in the aviation sector following the increasing level of insecurity on Nigerian roads.

Our correspondent gathered that about 25 investors had commenced moves to acquire Air Operator’s Certificates from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

An AOC is an approval granted by the aviation authority to an investor or aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

Experts said the AOC would require the operator to have personnel, assets and system in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public when it begins operations.

It was also gathered that the high level of insecurity in most parts of Nigeria and the fear among passengers to travel by road had led to an increase in the number of air travellers.

This and some other concerns, according to aviation operators, have caused investors to consider investments in the airline business.

The General Manager, Public Relations Department, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said about 25 investors were currently showing interest in setting up airlines in Nigeria.

He told our correspondent that lately about three had received AOCs and were already flying, stressing that Ibom Air, United Nigeria and Nigeria Eagle were all new entrants already operating scheduled flights.

“We have close to about 25 applications for new airlines but acquiring the AOC is a five-phased process,” Adurogboye said.

On what might have caused the attraction for investments in the airline business, he explained that the security situation on roads, among others, was a key factor.

The NCAA official said, “The truth of the matter is that business people are in business to make a profit and in this business, you do your feasibility studies; for example, someone recently sought what it entailed to establish helicopter services.

“A helicopter firm that would be servicing Ondo and Lagos states. Now the reason for this person’s business inclination was just because of the kidnappings on the roads. And so he looked at it that helicopter services from Lagos to Akure would be a good business.”

Adurogoye added, “Also we have the population and the numbers. Take a look at the number of foreign airlines that come into Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt. Air France lands in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

“British Airways lands in Lagos twice daily, and it comes in with about 350 to 400 passengers and these are not travellers on free tickets. So, the numbers are there.”

He noted that on the domestic routes, the number of persons flying out of the over 200 million people in Nigeria was still low in spite of what people might think.

The civil aviation regulator spokesperson said more persons needed to fly, describing the situation as an opportunity for the airlines to tighten up and attract people to fly.

He said, “It is showing that this is a sector that has opportunities that should be tapped. Remember Ethiopia Airlines is the major foreign exchange earner for that country.

“So, whether it is military or democracy, they never tampered with the structure of Ethiopian Airlines. And that airline has been doing well in the whole of Africa.

“In Singapore, the aviation sector drives their economy and they have an airline which is among the biggest in the world. So, aviation is a key sector if managed well and that the interest is coming up is a good thing.”

On the requirements for acquiring an AOC, he said, “When you apply, you go through a five-phased process. However, when the applicants apply and are given what they have to go through in the first phase, some don’t come back until after one year or two.”

An aviation analyst and member of the renowned Aviation Round Table, Olumide Ohunayo, said the desire by investors to invest

Airline: Bayelsa opens partnership negotiations with Ibom Air - NAN

MAY 10, 2021

The Bayelsa government at the weekend opened partnership discussions with its Akwa Ibom counterpart on the use of Ibom Air to start commercial flight operations at the Bayelsa International Airport.

Speaking as the leader of a high-powered delegation from Bayelsa at a meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, the Deputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said that the choice of Ibom Air was informed by proximity and the good bilateral relations between the two sister states.

Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, on Sunday explained that Akwa Ibom has proved itself as a dependable neighbour to Bayelsa in so many ways over the years, which must be reciprocated “in the spirit of give-and-take”.

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He expressed optimism that the partnership deal would soon be sealed for the airline to commence flights to and from Bayelsa, Lagos and Abuja, describing the two routes as the highest in traffic for the people of the state.

The deputy governor assured Bayelsans and the public of the present administration’s commitment to ensure smooth operations at the state airport, which is adjudged to be one of the best in the country by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

According to him, the state government is applying the business principle of “starting small to grow big” by going for a 50-Seater aircraft in its present deal with IbomAir to promote socioeconomic activities in the state.

Ewhrudjakpo, who likened efforts for acquiring the operational licence to Nelson Mandela’s “Long walk to Freedom”, however, added that government has plans to do business with other airlines in the near future.

His words, “Basically, we are here to discuss how we can have mutually beneficial partnership with your airline, Ibom Air. Our target is on any of your aircraft that has the capacity of about 50-seaters because we don’t want to start too big.

“We believe that if we don’t start anything now, we will have the issue of: ‘Why did you rush to get the commercial licence? So, we want to see how we can conclude with you and start operations.

“We have decided to choose Ibom Air because those who stay near each other have the tendency of exchanging pleasantries and other good things.

And so, we decided that instead of going to meet commercial airlines such as Orleans and Air Peace and then even the New United Airlines, we agreed to start with Akwa Ibom, our neighbor, to set the ball rolling.

“Our intention is to do two flights for now, a trip to and from Abuja, as well as a trip to and from Lagos. These are the major cities that our people visit very often for now either for business or for other purposes.”

Members of the state delegation, who accompanied the deputy governor were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyai Dambo, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai, and their transport counterpart, Hon. Grace Ekiotenne.

Others included the Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Governor’s Office, Mr Alex Dumbo and the Manager of the Bayelsa International Airport, Mrs Elizabeth Akpama

FAA seeks fines against more misbehaving airline passengers - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MAY 10, 2021

Federal officials said Monday they are pursuing civil penalties against two more passengers for interfering with airline crews, the latest in a surge of such cases in recent months.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is continuing to take a zero-tolerance stance against unruly passengers.

The most recent cases involve a passenger who refused to wear a face mask, which is required by federal regulation, and another who cursed flight attendants and the captain after boarding a plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has received 1,300 complaints from airlines about disruptive passengers this year and has announced proposed civil penalties — some topping $30,000 — against more than a dozen passengers in recent weeks. The passengers can protest the penalties.

The agency said Monday it will seek a $10,500 fine against a passenger on a JetBlue Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles in December. The FAA said the man repeatedly ignored orders to wear a mask, then coughed and blew his nose into a blanket.

The FAA proposed a $9,000 fine against a passenger who boarded a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in March. The man slammed overhead bins and shouted profanities at flight attendants and the captain before law enforcement escorted him out of the terminal, the FAA said.

The new cases came just three days after the FAA announced potential fines against four other passengers. None of the individuals have been identified.

Under its zero-tolerance policy announced in January, the FAA says it no longer warns or counsels unruly passengers, it jumps straight to enforcement action. The FAA has power to levy civil penalties but is letting law enforcement decide whether to seek criminal charges against passengers.

The FAA crackdown began around the time supporters of former President Donald Trump created disturbances on several flights to and from Washington. It was to remain in effect until late March, but the agency extended it when the Transportation Security Administration extended its requirement that passengers wear face masks through Sept. 13.

The FAA says it started enforcement action against more than 1,300 passengers during the past 10 years.

U.S. airlines, which imposed their own face-mask requirements before the government did, have temporarily banned at least 3,000 people for refusing to cover their faces.

The Associated Press

International Flights Resume At Port Harcourt Airport - DAILY TRUST

MAY 10, 2021

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced the immediate resumption of international flights at the Port Harcourt International Airport, River State.

The agency, however, said the resumption of international flights at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu will be announced in due course.

This is contained in the All Operators Letter to all Aviation stakeholders and foreign airlines flying to Nigeria.

According to the letter with reference number NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/309, dated May 4, 2021, and signed by the NCAA director-general, Captain Musa Nuhu, the NCAA said the decision followed the announcement on staggered resumption of international flights by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

Daily Trust reports that the Federal Government has announced the phased resumption of international flight starting with the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

Also, to come on stream is the international wing of the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) and the Enugu Airport.

Nigeria's new flag carrier to be private-sector financed - CH-AVIATION

MAY 12, 2021

Nigeria’s envisaged new national carrier, Nigeria Air (Lagos), is to be private-sector driven and financed, with the government proposing to hold no more than 5% of its shareholding.

This is according to a leaked document of the country’s Federal Ministry of Aviation, which provides a long-awaited first update on the Nigerian Federal Government’s roadmap towards the new flag carrier, which was first announced in 2018.

The document, seen by Economic Confidential, a Nigerian economic news magazine, proposes that a consortium of private investors raise USD250 million to start up the airline, with the government providing financial guarantees and “fiscal incentives”.

“The national carrier project will be private sector-driven, with the government holding not more than 5% of the shares. The private sector consortium may comprise reputable international airlines, leasing companies, aircraft manufacturers, financial, and institutional investors. USD250m approximately is to be raised to start up the airline by private investors,” the document reads.

The government would provide the required support by creating the enabling environment in terms of sustainable policies, allocation of routes, provision of financial guarantees, and ensuring "fiscal incentives to sustain the success of the airline".

The document indicates that the development phase of the project has been completed, with the procurement phase slated as the next step. It says an outline of the business case has been completed. “The next set of steps will involve the commencement of [the] procurement phase by placing [an] advert for a request for qualification in the national dailies and the foreign media," the document reads.

ch-aviation research found that a compliance certificate was already issued on July 8, 2018, by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), an agency of the Federal Government responsible for the development and implementation of public-private partnership frameworks. The ICRC in 2018 had also completed a feasibility study of the proposed airline.

As previously reported, plans for Nigeria Air were first revealed at the July 2018 Farnborough Air by Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika. Two months later, the government shelved the idea due to objections within its ranks to using public funds to set up the airline. The airline was incorporated as a private entity on July 18, 2018, according to the official document - lodged with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria - seen by ch-aviation.

Then, in May 2019, Sirika announced the government had now earmarked NGN47.43 billion naira (USD132 million) in the 2019 budget for the proposed airline. The funding was to enable the start-up to launch operations before the introduction of private equity funds.

In November 2020, the Aviation Ministry announced it had again earmarked funds for the establishment of Nigeria Air within its NGN78.96 billion (USD204.9 million) 2021 budget for the implementation of the aviation roadmap, which it said, would be implemented through a public-private partnership. All necessary agreements and arrangements with other partners had been worked out, "making 2021 the year the new national carrier would be realised," Sirika had said.

According to project information on the ICRC website, the new flag carrier would start with a domestic and regional airline service with a narrow-body fleet and early-on add international services to Europe and the US with B787s or A350s.

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