FG Outlines Conditions for Partnership on National Carrier


Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, on Thursday outlined conditions under which it would go into a partnership with any interested party in its desire to re-establish a national carrier.

 In a statement signed on behalf of the minister by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mr. James Odaudu, which was made available to journalists Abuja, he said interested parties must come to the negotiation table with plans for direct transfer of technology.

 According to him, the companies must have comprehensive training for Nigerians, adding that they must also put in place plans for the local manufacture of basic maintenance equipment and spare parts in the country.

Sirika gave the terms while receiving representatives of Airbus in his office in Abuja, saying setting the conditions was the only way to ensure that the proposed national airline comes on stream on a sound footing.

He expressed optimism at Airbus’ interest in partnering Nigeria on the project, but challenged the aircraft manufacturer to be prepared for competition with other interested organisations in view of similar interests having been expressed due to Nigeria’s growing aviation profile.

 The minister assured them that President Muhammadu Buhari was personally committed and unwaveringly determined to establish a national airline, saying the whole process of its establishment, including the choice of partners, would be transparent.

According to him, the vision of the government was to establish a national carrier that would not only be internationally competitive and profitable, but also efficiently and professionally managed while also being affordable and customer-centred.

Leader of the team and Sales Director of Airbus S.A.S, Marino Modena, had informed the minister that they were in the country to seek ways of assisting in the launch and development of the proposed Nigerian national airline.

Modena listed areas of possible partnership to include profitability studies, marketing strategies for local, regional and international operations as well as training, maintenance and hangar development.

According to him, Airbus had become a market leader in the manufacture of passenger / commercial aircrafts, helicopters and defence aircrafts over the past ten years, producing about 650 aircrafts annually.

With over one 1,000 engineers engaged in creation and innovation constantly, he said the firm has succeeded in developing a complete range of fuel efficient aircraft that could be of great benefits to the proposed national carrier.

Modena commended the government for taking up the challenge of establishing a national airline which he hopes will be a huge success, given the massive air traffic available in Nigeria, and the great prospects of the country becoming a regional aviation hub.