Nigeria Air gets license for proposed national carrier amid pending aircraft


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued an Air Transport License (ATL) to Nigeria Air Limited the operating company for the new national carrier Nigeria Air.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the licencing was the beginning of operations of the airline, maintaining that the commencement date for the domestic operation of the airline would be announced in due course.

Nigeria Air Limited received an Air Transport License (ATL) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) signaling the end of the beginning of operations of the airline and the commence- ment date of domestic operations will be announced in due course,”

Sirika wrote on his verified Twitter handle. The Trumpet learnt from an employee of NCAA that the Federal Government has begun the process of buying and leasing some aircraft. The source added that the airline hope to commence operations before the year runs out with about eight to 10 aircrafts depending on the outcome of the commitments of its private partners.

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The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the airline would have begun operations a long time ago, but for the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration wants to see that the airline project become a reality before the end of its tenure, which is less than a year.

The Trumpet recalled that Air Nigeria takes off has been dogged with several challenges, setbacks and controversies in the last four and five years. The ATL marked: NCAA/ATR1/ ATL214, which was presented to the airline, was signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, and would run for five years from June 3, 2022 to June 2, 2027.

The new national airline is expected to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services. It would be recalled that Nigeria Air Limited had in March, 2022 applied to the NCAA for a license to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo service. Meanwhile, the interim management of the national carrier has explained why the new airline was yet to take delivery of any aircraft required for its operations.

Speaking in Lagos after receiv ing an ATL for Nigeria Air, the Chief Executive of the airline, Captain Dapo Olumide, who stressed that it was difficult to get the aircraft, attributed this to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation sector and other factors. Olumide, who received the licence on behalf of the proposed new airline, assured that efforts were ongoing to get all the aircraft, as this was a basic requirement of the NCAA before the issuance of another vital certificate.

“The aircrafts are available but there are all sorts of issues because this is summer peak period. And as you know, post-COVID, all the aircraft were parked in the desert. The airlines are bringing them out slowly. It takes time to bring an aircraft out of storage.

There is a further complication with lots of flights in Europe are being cancelled or delayed because most people were laid off during the COVID and they don’t have enough staff in the airports to turn around flights. “It is difficult to get the aircraft but, we there are ongoing discus- sions with the original equipment manufacturers and we are waiting for the right terms of the agreement.

We already have the aircraft identified, because that is one of the requirements of NCAA, but we are just trying to perfect titles and so on,” he said.

Olumide also noted that the airline was still sourcing air- craft, stressing that the national carrier was in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) process with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) based on approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

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