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On Nigeria Air’s December take-off and postponement of Lagos-Ibadan road

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The sudden silence of the Minister of State, Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika on the launch updates ahead of December 24 takeoff date of Nigeria Air is becoming a serious anxiety for industry followers and millions of Nigerians who listened to the Minister at the London Air Show few weeks ago.
The Minister had before attending the London Air Show, promised that government will order for at least five brand new aircrafts from both Boeing and Airbus, but nothing was heard about that at the event till now.
Besides, the so called $300m government equity is still nowhere to be found even as no known investor has been linked to the national carrier.
Still yet, pensioners of defunct Nigerian Airways are still yawning on the side, waiting for war or protests to mar the takeoff based on the inability of the federal government to fulfill its promise to clear their N45bn pension arrears.
Just as there are genuine fears over the impossibility of meeting the December deadline on Nigeria Air, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who had been assuring Nigerians that the earlier delivery date of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway December 2018 is feasible upon Senators’ different opinion after their oversight visit, in far away China opened up and revealed that December dateline for the road has been shifted to December next year.
It was not clear if Capt Sirika can muster similar courage to tell Nigerians the truth on the December takeoff of Nigeria Air after all.
However, the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman, has said the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, will begin operations by December this year as proposed by the Federal Government.
Usman told journalists this week in Lagos that as far as the NCAA could deliver on the two major certificates, the Air Transport Licence and the Aircraft Operators Certificate, within the 90 days stipulated by law, the airline was still on track for the December take-off.
“We still have more than 90 days to the end of the year, so, it is still feasible, all things being equal. I am just talking from the regulatory point of view,” he added.
The DG was quick to reveal that the project was still ongoing, adding that the government and other relevant stakeholders were working round the clock to ensure a successful take-off.
According to him, “The Nigeria Air project arrangements will continue until it is delivered to the Nigerian people; even though people are now quiet about it, it does not mean that the project has stopped at all.
“It is a process, the process is ongoing and it is transparent as people can see; it is to get the best for Nigeria. Nigerians have been yearning for the gaps created by the lack of a strong and viable carrier that will meet the demands and potential of both the domestic market, regional and the international markets to be filled,” Usman averred.

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