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The Nigerian government on Wednesday has unveiled the name and logo of the new national carrier in London.

Nigeria Air
Nigeria Air

The new national carrier, one of the World’s biggest airshow, according to Bashir Ahmad, was unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow.

In his remarks at unveiling, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika said the new national carrier would be known as Nigeria Air.

He said that 81 routes, including domestic, regional and international, have identified for now, for Nigeria Air, out of more than a thousand to be considered.

“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in Aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore.

“We want to use this new private-sector-led airline to make a statement that, ‘Yes, Nigeria can do it!’ and we also want to promote our cultures and traditions. It will also create economic opportunities and jobs.

“We’ve been talking to Airbus and Boeing, and they’re present at this event, regarding the aircraft for Nigeria Air, and we will be making announcements very soon. We are currently negotiating,” he said.

Prior to the unveiling, Bashir had revealed how the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport surroundings would look like when the CCECC completes the construction of the new terminal.

According to the FG, the new national carrier would be operated on a public-private partnership basis, and should become profitable in three years.

“The Nigerian Government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new National Carrier. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.

“This will be a National Carrier that is Private sector led and driven. It is a business, not a social service.

“Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this,” Sirika said at the unveiling.

Nigeria has struggled to support a viable home-grown airline for decades, with a succession of carriers collapsing or slashing routes, leaving the nation dependent on services provided mainly by European and Persian Gulf carriers for trips beyond the national shores.

Former flag-carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed in 2003, with successor Air Nigeria, founded as a joint venture with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, folding in 2012. Private operator, Arik Air, was taken over by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria last year, leading long-haul flights to be suspended.

15 years after, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is reviving it, with new aircrafts, the new name, the new logo and new colours.

“It has happened to Nigeria before. The Nigeria Airlines was founded and at some point, it died because of something that was faulty. We have learnt our lessons and we are not going to repeat it again. The airline will stand the test of time,” Sirika, said prior the unveiling.

On Monday, Sirika tweeted from Farnborough that he had held talks on sourcing jets from Airbus SE and planned to meet with Boeing Co. and other suppliers.

He had said he would explore every opportunity available to attract more prospective investors into the Nigerian aviation environment.

Sirika explained that the Farnborough show provides an opportunity to establish a maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Nigeria, the concession of some airports in the country and other components of the aviation roadmap of the Nigerian government.

The Minister also added that by December 19, the first five aircraft of the airline would be delivered, and Nigeria Air would commence operations.

Explaining why London was chosen for the unveiling, the FG said Farnborough is one of the biggest Airshows in the world, where decision makers and industry experts gather every two years to do business.

“The new National Carrier will bring Nigeria closer to the world,” the FG stated on Twitter.

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