Proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, has scaled one of the mandatory regulatory hurdles, for which it was, yesterday, presented the Air Transport Licence (ATL).
Numbered, NCAA/ATR1/ATL214, the licence was presented by Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, to interim management of the airline, led by Capt. Dapo Olumide, in Abuja.
The approval will run for a period of five years, starting from June 3, 2022 till June 2, 2027. An ATL certification is a document, which states the type of operations a carrier would embark on within and outside Nigeria, ahead of the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) that is already at the advanced stages.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had hinted that the national carrier would commence operations by next month though the search for bidders to drive the public-private venture is still ongoing.
Recall that the ministry, had early this month, extended the bidding process by one-month, now ending on June 10. The national carrier, already christened Nigeria Air, was to replace the defunct Nigeria Airways that ceased operations in 2003. The replacement was designed as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the Federal Government owning a marginal stake of five per cent.
Findings showed that the project had raked N14.65 billion in appropriation votes between 2019 and 2022.
About 40 per cent of the sum (N6.25 billion) had been channelled to working capital, consultancy and transaction advisers’ fees.
Secretary General of Aviation Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said he did not understand government’s logic of having only five per cent stake in the project, going ahead to float it when other 95 per cent shareholders were either ready nor known. Ojikutu said it suggested more of another government-owned airline, than a public-private national carrier.