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UPDATED: FG suspends Nigeria Air indefinitely - PUNCH

MAY 27, 2024

By Princess Etuk

The Federal Government has said that the Nigeria Air remains suspended.

During the ministerial press briefing in Abuja, marking President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo provided updates, confirming that the project remains suspended.

In 2023, the Ministry of Aviation, under Hadi Sirika, former minister, unveiled Nigeria Air three days before the end of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The development had elicited concerns among stakeholders nationwide over the ownership arrangement which gave Ethiopian Airlines a 49 per cent equity stake.

The Federal Government had a 5 per cent equity, while a consortium of three Nigerian investors had 46 per cent.

Reacting to the deal in June 2023, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to suspend the operations of Nigeria Air, describing it as a fraud.

In August 2023, Keyamo announced that the national carrier project was suspended till further notice.

Keyamo said, “It remains suspended. It was never Air Nigeria. It was not Air Nigeria. That’s the truth. It was only painted Nigeria Air. It was Ethiopian Airlines trying to flag our flag.

“If it is so, why not allow our local plane to fly our flag? So nobody should dispute that it was Nigeria Air.

“Air Nigeria must be indigenous, must be wholly Nigerian, and must be for the full benefits of Nigeria, not that 50 per cent of the profit is for another country.”

Keyamo reiterated that the ownership structure of the suspended airline is not beneficial to the country.

“Nigeria Air must be indigenous, it must be only Nigeria or it must be for the full benefit of Nigeria.

“Not that 60 per cent of the profit is for another country. How does that benefit us? So It remains suspended,” he said.


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