Nigeria’s aviation minister of state, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said all hope was not lost on the establishment of the national carrier ‘Nigeria Air’.
The national carrier which was unveiled on July 18, 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show in London, was aimed at bringing “Nigeria closer to the world” but operation was suspended after a month with no substantive reason for the call off.
“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured,” Aviation minister Hadi Sirika said in September.
However, the minister has assured Nigerians that hope was still alive in sustaining and establishing the vision of the ‘Nigeria Air’ national carrier.
“The suspended national carrier would be activated as soon as possible, although the December 24th earlier given for its take-off is no longer feasible,” Sirika said.
The Minister gave the assurance when he received the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Al Taffaq, in his office in Abuja.
He said the suspension was only in the interim and that a new pronouncement would soon be made on the project.
According to the minister, it is inconceivable that Nigeria, with its population of over 180 million people, would not be a major player in the aviation industry.
He noted that the country’s geographical location has made it a natural hub for air transportation and ancillary businesses.
Sirika said Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have had a long-standing relationship politically and business-wise, especially in the aviation sector, and hoped that the new envoy will use his presence in the country to further boost these relationships.
The minister called for the need for Emirates Airlines to increase its daily flights out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to compliment the patronage of Nigerians.
He added that the Buhari led government was doing all that was necessary to provide the conducive environment that airlines need to thrive.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Al Taffaq, also assured the minister of the United Arab Emirates continued cooperation with Nigeria in the area of aviation where both countries have enjoyed a long-standing relationship.
He stated that the UAE’s cooperation with Nigeria influenced the country’s decision to extend it’s tourist visa to six months while on a visit to the country, meaning that Nigerian tourists can stay for up to six months.
He also informed the aviation minister that plans have been completed for the opening of a visa office in Lagos in order to mitigate the hardship of coming to Abuja for visa processing.