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Nigeria Air to commence flights before May 29, says Sirika

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The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has disclosed that the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, will fly before May 29, 2023.

Sirika, who made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday during the 10th Aviation stakeholders forum, said the project was 98 percent completed.

The minister said: “Negotiation meeting with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria ongoing.

“Next step is the Federal Executive Council‘s approval of the Full Business Case.

“Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly.”

According to the minister, the national carrier will reduce capital flight from Nigeria, maximize the benefits of BASA and SAATM, and develop an aviation hub.

He added that the national carrier will also facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector, contribute to the GDP, facilitate hospitality and tourism, and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.

Persecondnews reports that there has been a lot of controversies surrounding the establishment of the Nigeria Air.

According to Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the decision of the government to allow Ethiopian Airlines to own 49 per cent of the stake in the company poses “existential threats” to the local airline operators.

AON instituted a legal suit against the federal government on November 19, 2022, asking for clarification on the processes, extant law and interpretation, level playing field for all operators and the modus operandi of the national carrier.

Among the controversial issues raised by AON in its suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, was the alleged granting of 15 years tax moratorium to Ethiopian Airlines by the Federal Government in the airline’s commercial and strategic plan.

The document states that no formal analysis had been carried out on the airline’s tax position, adding that for the purpose of this document it assumed that there were no withholding taxes on interest payments, insurance premiums and dividends to shareholders.

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