Nigeria to resurrect national airline by 2022

Nigeria's national carrier,Nigeria Air.PHOTO/AP
Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air.PHOTO/REUTERS

The Nigerian government said Wednesday it expects to revive the long-defunct national airline, Air Nigeria, by April 2022 after a restructuring plan for the airline has been approved.

A plan outlining the business arrangement of the national carrier, which ceased operations in 2012 due to operational challenges, has been approved by the weekly cabinet meeting, Hadi Sirika, the country’s minister of aviation, told reporters at a press briefing in Abuja.

According to the minister, the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a 5 percent stake and Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent, while “the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet-to-be assigned strategic equity partners”, including foreign investors.

Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, would generate over 70,000 jobs.

The most populous African country had a national airline as early as the 1950s, which operated regional and domestic passenger services. Due to financial and operational challenges, Air Nigeria ceased operations in September 2012.