The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed at the end of a virtual Federal Executive meeting presided over by the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday that the proposed national carrier (Nigeria Air) will begin flight in April next year.

The Federal Government announced plans to establish a new national carrier, following the liquidation of the Nigerian Airways in 2003. Sirika told State House correspondents that the Federal Government would own not more than five per cent equity stake in the national airline.

According to the Minister, Nigerian entrepreneurs will own 46 per cent shares while international strategic partners will own 49 per cent stake.

The minister said his ministry presented two memoranda which were approved by FEC.

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“The next one also is the approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before Council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by the Council.

“The structure of the proposed airline; the government will be own not more than five per cent. So, five per cent is the maximum equity that the government will take, then 46 per cent will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs which sum up to 51 per cent. The remaining 49 per cent stake would be held by strategic equity partners that would be sourced during the procurement phase.

The Minister noted that the airline will generate about 70,000 jobs within the first few years of operation.

Speaking further, the minister said, “Today in Council, civil aviation presented two memoranda. The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including software support and training, which will be located in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

“In summary, this is a software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulation to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, including follow-ups on personnel licensing, the medicals, the economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation will be monitored by this single software.

“It is called ‘the truth machine’ in Europe because all of the truth of the regulation of civilisation will appear on this platform. It’s extremely important software that the world has now come to terms with.”