Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led federal government is personally committed and unwaveringly determined to establish a national airline that will be a pride of the nation.
He, however, outlined some conditions under which the federal government could go into a partnership with any interested party in its desire to re-establish a national carrier.
The minister listed some of the conditions while receiving representatives of Airbus on Thursday in Abuja, saying setting the conditions was the only way to ensure that the proposed national airline comes on stream on a sound footing.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Aviation, Mr James Odaudu, stressed that this was an indication of the seriousness the federal government attached to the project.
According to Sirika, such interested parties must, amongst others, not only come to the negotiation table with plans for direct transfer of technology through training of Nigerians, but must also put in place plans for the local manufacture of basic maintenance equipment and spare parts.
He said the whole process of its establishment, including the choice of partners, would be transparent.
He said the vision of the government was to establish a national carrier that would not only be international competitive and profitable, but also efficiently and professionally managed while also being affordable and customer-centred.
The minster welcomed Airbus’ interest in partnering with 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.
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 and also discuss the inherent advantages in considering the use of Airbus’ products.
He 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.
The Airbus Sales Director also told the Minster that with over one thousand engineers engaged in Creation and Innovation constantly, the firm has succeeded in developing a complete range of fuel efficient aircraft that could be of great benefits to the proposed national carrier.
He 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.


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