FG Appoints Lufthansa, Five Others Advisers on Establishment of National Carrier

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Hadi Sirika
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

The federal government has appointed advisers to help it set up a national airline and develop its aviation infrastructure – currently seen as a barrier to economic growth – to create a hub for West Africa, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Wednesday.

Sirika said a group of six firms including German carrier Lufthansa would advise the government on setting up an airline, an aviation leasing company and a maintenance hanger, and on creating concessions to run the country’s airports.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had approved N1.52 billion ($4.99 million) of funding for the project, he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised a national airline when campaigning for election, did not attend the weekly meeting, fuelling concerns about the state of his health.

Decades of neglect and lack of investment have left Nigeria with low-quality infrastructure that is seen as a hurdle to prosperity and the government has already said that upgrading it will require private investment.
The government set up a committee on establishing a national airline in 2015, in fulfillment of the campaign promises which brought Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) to power.

An APC transition paper seen by Reuters in 2015 had proposed merging a dozen debt-laden airlines on the books of state-owned “bad bank” Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) into a single carrier that would partner with a global airline to serve the West and Central African region.

The single carrier would include Nigeria’s biggest airline, Arik Air, which AMCON took over in February.
AMCON has said it has no plans to convert Arik into a national carrier and that the government has no interest in doing so other than to ensure that the airline continues to fly.

  • Daniel Obior

    Another dumb move by an incompetent administration. This new national carrier if established, will go the same way as Nigeria Airways, eventually. Most successful airlines all over the world are privately owned. This will turn out to be another avenue to waste oil money. Very dumb.

    • josvinco

      @Daniel Obior. What is dumb in the idea ? If Nigeria Airways failed, it failed not because of competent workers to run it but because of the nation’s corrupt mentality and absence of culture of meritocracy. Ethiopian Airlines is an example of a successful National airline. When the country was in a civil war, the airline still flew and made profit those days. This is because the airline was run and still being run by competent hands. The airline is not run by the president’s in laws or subject to quota system appointees or managed by corrupt political appointees looking for departments to pillage as in our case. Is Arik not privately owned ? It is failing because it is a one man affair who would not want to listen to expertise advice from his employees. He would prefer to give his son a top management position instead of making him to start internship with the company from the start to know the rudiments of airline operations. I believe that is one of the reasons why Arik is failing. We need a National Airline with a sound corporate goal and strategy…….

      • austin

        You and Daniel are basically on the same page. While Daniel believes that government generally should not run the airline business, you are of the opinion that it is the Nigerian government due to its peculiarities that cannot run an airline business and even Nigerian individuals are not left out.
        Bottom line is that there should be no government owned national carrier for any of the adduced reasons.

      • Daniel Obior

        We have a long history of failed government run organisations, with the monumental number of failures littering the entire landscape with carcasses. Yet, you believe government should go into more such business? Obviously, we are where we are in this country because of this type of sentiment that makes excuses and rationalises government failures. With its horrible track record, government in this country has no business running another national airline. That is simply why the is a dumb idea. Secondly, not all private organisations are successful, and not all government run ones are failures. Your Ethiopian Airline and Arik examples lack logic. The most successful airlines are privately run and that if fact which you can cash in the bank.

    • manny

      Smh

      • Daniel Obior

        What is Smh?

  • EDDY

    WHY ENLIST THE SERVICES OF YOUR POTENTIAL COMPETITOR TO ADVISE YOU OR AS A CONSULTANT ON SETTING UP YOUR OWN CARRIER? THE RULE OF THUMB IS THAT YOUR COMPETITOR WILL ALWAYS WORK AGAINST YOU. ITS LIKE GIVING YOUR ENEMY YOUR WARES TO SELL FOR YOU. THIS IS A DUMB IDEA DOOMED TO FAIL FROM THE START.