Connect with us





by Chris Aligbe

  1. Introduction:

The twinning of social and economic issues in the above topic is certainly deliberate.  Deliberate because it can be separated and each will still remain valid.  But the coinage is quite apt because it is a very sound understanding of the role of airlines – Private and National Carriers.

While the weight of the social burden is limited for the private airline, it is more dense on a national carrier.  But both of them must bear the weight of the economic role.  While a national carrier can and will be held accountable if it fails in its expected social role, such cannot be said of a private airline.  That is why I consider the framers of the topic of our discourse today right in their thinking.

  1. Early Days:

In the early days of airline floatation, national carriers’ primary role was social.  There was no commercial motive and even though there were economic implications in their operations, they were considered mere fallouts rather than part of the objective.  For instance, when Nigeria Airways was incorporated in 1961, its role was to fly the flag of the new nation called “Nigeria” and “announce” it to the global community as well as perform the social role of connecting Nigerians from city to city to help in fostering the much desired unity on which the new Nigeria-nation will rest.  It would also respond to national emergencies.

However, by the middle 80s, a combination of circumstances brought in its wake the commercial/economic motive in airline operations.  The new philosophy supplanted the original social motive, pushing it to the background.  The resultant discourses now centre on profitability of national carriers as a measure of success since they are now considered, primarily as business concerns.  Yet, in spite of this philosophical shift, most nations are not oblivious of the fact that national carriers still have great social responsibilities and that is why nations, globally, are hooked unto national carrier concept, varied as they may be, from the original concept.



Airline operations in independent Nigeria dates back to March 1961 with the buyout of the shareholdings of Nigeria’s two Partners – Elder Dempster (thirty-two -two-third percent) and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) (Seventeen one-third percent); and established it as a national carrier.  From then till 1985, it was the sole commercial airline operator in Nigeria.

  1. Major Policy Change
  • The year 1985 began land marks in the annals of the history of our airline operations:
  • Liberalisation and deregulation;
  • Emergence of Private-scheduled Operators: Flash Airline, Intercontinental Airline, Kabo Air and Okada.
  • 1988: Decree on Commercialisation and Privatisation: Policy frontier extension.


  1. Nine (9) attempts at floatation of a national carrier:
  2. Joji’s Air Nigeria =          1992/3
  3. Jani’s Turn-Around =          1999-2000
  4. IFC New Co =          2000/1
  5. Kema Chikwe’s Air Nigeria =          20001/2
  6. Kema Chikwe’s Nigeria Global =          2002/3
  7. Yuguda’s Nigeria Eagle Airline =          2003/4
  8. Obasanjo’s Virgin Nigeria =          2004/5
  9. Jimoh Ibrahim’s Nigerian Eagle =          2008/9
  10. Oduah’s Nigeria One =          2010/13

Of all these, only three attempts are worth our reflection while the rest will remain collectively a sad commentary on our reverse ingenuity.  But all are case studies and platforms for evaluation of government’s present effort.

Of the three, Jani’s effort was an ingenuous turnaround strategy based on Joint Venture with British Airways.  It was a great successful revamp that came too late.




iii.Air Nigeria:  

Prime Drivers:

Prince Tony Momoh (Chairman)/Capt. Mohammed Joji (CEO)

Date:             1992-93

Ownership:   100% Federal Government with intent to sell to the Public, and Swiss Air and Sabena as Technical Partners. (Fed. Govt 40%; Sabena 20%; Swiss Air 20%; Public 20%).

Transaction Adviser/Consultant:  Keith Bolshaw & Team

Supervisory Agency:    Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation – TCPC

Funds Allocated:     US$100million managed by CBN to pay off Nigeria Airways debts to enable Air Nigeria take off.

Fate: Ended 1993 on the removal of Joji and Momoh and appointment of Agom as MD/CEO on 24th August, 1993.

  1. Nigeria Airways Privatisation = NEW CO

Prime Driver:  Fed. Government.  MOU signed between the Fed Govt (VP Atiku Abubakar and James D. Wolfensohn, President of World Bank).

Date:           2000/2002 under Obasanjo’s Presidency.

Ownership: Public equity (Local + Technical Partner) including Fed. Govt through Privatisation.

Transaction Adviser/Consultant:  International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Supervising Agency:  Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE/NCP

Funds Allocated:  Apart from US$400,000 paid IFC, fund needed was yet to be specified as at the time of abortion.

Fate: Was aborted in 2002 when Obasanjo decided to dispense with the entire programme based on allegations which many considered unfounded and based on political scores.


Generally, the failure factors include but not limited to:

  • Absence of transparency;
  • Poor knowledge of Drivers;
  • Use of third rate or non-experienced Transaction Advisers;
  • Lack of political will;
  • Policy summersault;
  • Unclear Motives;
  • Poor Communication to relevant Stakeholder publics;
  • Non-commitment at the highest level of government;
  • Absence of institutional guidance and framework;
  • Role of the in-house Unions;
  • The time element – out of sync with existential realities;


  • Why has every government made effort to float a national carrier?
  • Why are all African nations making efforts at reviving their collapsed national carriers or setting up one which they never had?

The answer is not far-fetched.    Faced with the imperatives of globalisation, increasing population, economic development and the need to weld together the diverse ethnic components of their societies, governments in Africa, like other nations, are in endless search for veritable instruments, mechanisms and policies to achieve stated objective of national development, social and economic alike. In most recent time, the SAATM and African Free Trade Zone have added their own pressures.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, most African nations are Frontier economies with the usual indices of dangling prosperity, corruption and arbitrariness in law and regulation enforcement.  Also, low per capita income, cheap labour and high return on investments.  The economies possess vast potentials that are unexpected or unexploited.

Most of these countries find themselves being exploited by external business concerns.

In the search for solutions, sector by sector analysis is carried out to identify development catalysts.  As in all economies, the Transport Sector has always been a key driver.  Within that sector in Africa, road and air transport sub-sectors have been identified as catalytic drivers.  Mostly the road transport account for between 75 – 90% of movement of people and goods while air transport account for between 10-15%.  The remaining 5% is accounted by marine transport.

In Nigeria, air transport accounts for about 18% but with potential growth projection of 22% in the next 3-4 years given the right policy action and environment.

Across Africa, most nations have recognised the critical role of air transport in socio-economic development.  This new realisation is the underlying reason for the upsurge in the recent floatation of national carriers by African nations – Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Angola, Senegal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Rwanda, etc.  This realisation is expressed in many comments by airline officials such as:

Rwanda: “To achieve economic and social development as part of its Vision 2020, the landlocked country has invested heavily in its national carrier…”

South Africa: “In South Africa alone, the value of SAA extends well beyond its balance sheet with the airline functioning as a substantial economic enabler”.


  • Land mass of 923,763
  • 200 million population (upwardly mobile and emerging new middle-class)
  • Largest economy in Africa
  • 5 International Airports and 22 other Domestic Airports
  • 8 Domestic Airlines (3 operating regional routes and one international route;
  • Increasing passenger carriage (10,383,452 pax 2017 and 12,791,639 in 2018 with a projection of over 14 million in 2019),
  • Increase in Domestic aircraft movement (210,819 – 2017 and 243,367 in 2018).
  • 78 Bilateral Air Service Agreement – BASA
  • 29 Foreign Airlines;
  • Open Skies regimes (US and Africa) Dual Designation;
  • Multiple entry points;
  • Increasing entrants and frequencies by foreign airlines (Aircraft movements: 40,282 in 2017 and 55,961 in 2018);
  • Increase in passenger uplift by foreign airlines (4,056.717 in 2017 and 5,465,417 in 2018 and over 6million is projected for 2019).
  • Ticket sales revenue for foreign airlines (Capital Flight):
  • 1990 – 1999 = Yearly Average of US$600million;
  • 2000-2009 = Yearly Average of US$900million;
  • 2010-2019 = Yearly Average of US$1.3billion;
  • 2020-2029 = Projection is US$1.6billion yearly if we do nothing.


What are the challenges facing us today as a nation in the airline subsector one may ask?

  • Less efficient Domestic Operators arising from both external and internal factors;
  • Half of the nation’s airports are not well-linked;
  • Increasing number of unemployed or out-of-employment Professionals – technical and critical support personnel;
  • Only about 10% of our 78 BASAs is being reciprocated.
  • Multiple entry points for foreign airlines;
  • Huge and growing revenue loss to the Economy through Capital Flight.
  • High and prohibitive airfares by foreign airlines when compared to similar distances in other countries. For example, trip booked same day on BA to LHR return on economy class shows the following:
  1. Accra-LHR-Accra (6hrs 30mins) N251,400) 27-2-20 – 11-3-20

LOS-LHR-LOS (6hrs 35mins)       N346,210

  1. Accra-LHR -Accra N241,949) 13-2-20 to 27-2-20

LOS-LHR-LOS                                  N717,172

  1. LOS-Douala-LOS (1hr 25mins on ASKY) = N247,235

A study of air fares in Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia show evidently the impact of the existence of their national carriers as they force down the exploitative fares of foreign carriers.

In Nigeria, both the Economy and the Nigerian travellers suffer this exploitation.


There are many threats facing the nation in the airline subsector but some are more critical, among which are:

  • Single African Air Transport Market = SAATM;
  • Global push for Open Skies at either bilateral or multilateral level;
  • The operational alliances being entered into by countries surrounding us within the sub-region, primarily driven by ET.

9.HOW DO WE RESPOND?  Is there any hope?

To address this, we need to consider our strength.  What are they?

  • A resolute President in his belief on a national carrier.
  • A focused Driver – Minister with a passion for a legacy.
  • A Travel Public and Stakeholders that have become restive about non-existence of a functional virile national carrier.
  • Nigeria’s location in the epicentre of the globe which makes it a national Hub.
  • A large population with a segment with high propensity for air travel; thus creating the most stable indigenous air travel market in Africa.
  • Potential sources of funding:
  • African Development Bank (AFDB) headed by a Nigerian –

Mr. Adesina.

  • African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) headed by a Nigerian –

Dr. Orama.

  • Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) – Has loanable intervention fund that can be drawn from if necessary.

At no time in the last 3½ decades has Nigeria ever been blessed with such a concatenation of positive circumstances that are yearning to be drawn from.  For a nation that is in dire need of;

  • Providing jobs for Professionals of various groups in an industry like Aviation with unimaginable immense potentials;
  • Full exploitation of its sprawling travel market;
  • Building a hub which only a national carrier can do;
  • Connecting its peoples scattered over 85 Nigerian cities and towns;
  • Cutting down on capital flight of over US$1.3billion.
  • Creating a market that will support an MRO and absorb the products of its globally acclaimed training institution – NCAT;
  • Of maintaining its dominance in a continent where it is the largest economy by extending the frontier of inter-African trade and business;

Nothing, absolutely nothing can be more reasonable than creating and firmly establish the PRIMARY INSTRUMENT – a sound National Carrier to effectively draw on the vast opportunities that abound.  Not to do so will lead to validly questioning the patriotism of our leaders.


The Benefits of a virile National Carrier can never by fully exhausted because apart from the direct benefits, the collateral benefits (backward and forward linkages) are humongous in the areas of:

  • Job creation;
  • Improved revenue generation to airports, handlers and both aeronautical and non-aeronautical businesses;
  • Improved airport infrastructure nationwide;
  • New businesses;
  • Connecting peoples of Nigeria between cities;
  • Increased contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP);
  • Manpower Development;
  • Connecting people in Nigeria and outside Nigeria for leisure, trade, education and business.

Just one example:

Employment: A National Carrier with about 12 aircraft for a start will employ instantly between 1,500 staff based on 125 persons per aircraft.

  • Egypt Air = Fleet 61, total staff 9,000 = 148 staff per aircraft;
  • SAA = Fleet 51, total staff 5,752  = 112 staff per aircraft;
  • Kenya Airways = Fleet 40, total staff 3,986 = 99.65 staff per aircraft;
  • ET =     Fleet 125, total staff 13,942 = 111.5 staff per aircraft.




Distinguished colleagues, let me end this with the Shakespearian quote:

“There is tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune, omitted, all are voyage is bound in shallows and misery.  We must take the plunge now or lose our ventures”.

It is our responsibility as core Stakeholders to support the present ongoing effort to float a new national carrier.  In doing this, we also should insist on transparency and carrying all Stakeholders along as well as a very strong airline technical partner in order to avoid the pitfalls and bane of the past failures.

A stitch in time saves nine, they say.  But since we did not stitch until we lost nine attempts, let us stitch now to at least save one; “NIGERIA AIR” our tenth attempt.

I thank you.


Chris Aligbe

Aviation Consultant & MD/CEO

Belujane Konzult


















Continue Reading


Nigeria at COP28: Separating the facts from fiction



By Temitope Ajayi

The number of delegates from Nigeria attending the ongoing Climate Summit in Dubai otherwise called COP28 has generated a lot of controversies and strong social media conversations in the last 24 hours. It is important to set the record straight and provide some clarity. To begin with, the Summit is tagged COP which means Convention of Parties. The ongoing Summit in Dubai with over 97,000 delegates from more than 100 countries around the world is the 28th in the series since the issue of climate change and action took preeminent stage in global affairs. COP27 took place at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt last year.

When the world comes together to take actions on achieving a common goal and proffer collective solutions to a nagging global concern, there are parties involved from government, private sector, civil society, media and multilateral institutions. The people coming together to advance their different agenda and interests from governments, businesses and civil societies are the parties to the convention who represent various shades of opinions and pushing for various mitigating actions.

In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also participating are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, NDDC. Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger-Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented. The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses.

Their participation is very important. It is not for jamboree as it is being mischievously represented on social media.

It is important to state here that delegates from all countries whether from government, private sector, media and civil society groups attend COP summits and conferences as parties and the number of attendees are registered against their countries of origin. This does not mean that they are sponsored or funded by the government. It must be said also that the fact that people registered to attend a conference does not mean everyone that registered is physically present.

As the biggest country in Africa, biggest economy and one with a bigger stake on climate action as a country with huge extractive economy, it is a no-brainer that delegates from Nigeria will be more than any other country in Africa.

Among the delegates from Nigeria are UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA group, and other billionaires whose businesses are promoting sustainability and climate actions through their philanthropies. These businessmen and women and their staff who came with them to promote their own business interests are part of the 1,411 delegates from Nigeria. Their trip to Dubai is not funded by the Federal Government.

United Nations Climate summit, by its very nature, commands attendance of big names from across the world – statesmen and women, politicians, lawmakers, corporate titans, journalists and activists, etc who promote big global agenda. So, people attend the summit for many reasons. And because climate issue is the biggest global issue of the moment, it is not surprising that over 97,000 people including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, King Charles of United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, US Special Envoy on Climate Change and former Secretary of State, John Kerry, President Bola Tinubu, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, World Bank President, Ajay Banga, International Monetary Fund President, Kristalina Georgieva, World Trade Organisation Director General, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Africa Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Al Gore and almost 100 Heads of States and Governments converged on Dubai for COP28. It is the first of its kind in the history of the summit because of the importance of climate change to global well-being.

After the opening and national statements by Heads of States which began from November 30 when the summit opened and up until Saturday December 2, 2023, the real work of COP28 which are the technical sessions and negotiations, financing, etc will begin from Monday, December 4 till December 12 where agreements will be reached on many proposals for consideration and ratification by the parties.

Those with sufficient understanding and knowledge on climate matters know that issues around the subject have layers and multiplicity of factors that require experts from various fields. There are lined-up technical sessions on financing climate actions at sub-national levels, regions and local governments. State Governors from Nigeria such as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Umo Eno of Akwa-Ibom have been really busy with their officials at COP28, making presentations, speaking at panel sessions and pitching some of their sustainability projects to development partners and investors.

Multifaceted stakeholders from different countries including Nigeria are on ground in Dubai because they don’t want decisions that will affect them to be taken without pushing their own agenda. It is the reason delegates from China and Brazil are over 3000 respectively. China is one of the world biggest polluters and Brazil is at the centre of global climate debate with her Amazon rainforest. These two countries know important decisions that will affect them will be taken and they have to move everything to be fully on ground and ensure they are fully represented by their best brains at every level of discussion and negotiation.

Like former President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders who demanded fair deal and climate justice for Africa at previous UN Climate summits, President Tinubu is leading the charge at COP28 on behalf of Nigeria and the rest of the continent, demanding from the West that any climate decision and action must be fair and just to Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially the debate around energy transition.

President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa that is battling problems of poverty, security and struggling to provide education and healthcare to her people can not be told to abandon its major source of income which is mostly from extractive industries without the West providing the funding and investment in alternative and clean energy sources. President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business not jamboree.

Our President has been very busy representing our country well. Since Thursday morning when he arrived Dubai, President Tinubu has spent not less than 18hours daily in attending very important sessions, pushing our national agenda whilst holding bilateral and business meetings on the sidelines.

-Ajayi is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

Continue Reading


How Aviation Sector Grew Under Hadi Sirika in 8 Years



The Nigerian aviation sector is tipped by Embraer in a 2020 report to experience the biggest growth in Africa in the next decade and more. The report estimated that Nigeria’s aviation sector has a prospect for an over $7.2 billion (over N3.3trn) annual Grosso Domestic Product Growth (GDP).

“With the implementation of open skies, according to a study on SAATM by Embraer (2020), in 2038, using traffic forecasts and economic impact estimates from ICAO, Nigeria’s aviation industry would contribute some $1.3 billion to GDP. That number would rise to $7.2 billion when factoring in the induced and indirect catalytic effects of tourism. Aviation could generate 800,000 jobs of which 60,000 would be directly associated with airline operations” the report indicated.

Also, a recent aviation sector study for Nigeria by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in June 2020, showcases the significant contribution of air transportation to the National economy, by providing 241,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and a contribution of $1.7 billion to the National economy.

The FG projects that with the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, the overall goal is to grow the Aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6% to 5% (approximately $14.166 billion).

Thus, ahead of these reports, since 2015, the federal government of Nigeria deliberately began concrete implementation of open skies or The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and Nigeria’s Aviation Roadmap. These policies were actively piloted by the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and abled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Aviation Roadmap is chiefly to build tangible and intangible aviation infrastructure to unlock the over N3 trillion aviation annual economy and reposition even for greater growth.

The key components of the aviation roadmap according to the policy document include: Establishment of a National Carrier, Development of Agro-Allied /Cargo Terminals § Establishment of Maintenance, Repairs, and Overhaul (MRO) Centre, Establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company (ALC), Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities), Establishment of an Aviation & Aerospace University, and Concession of five International Airports (Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt.

Others include; the upgrade of NCAT into an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence, the Designation of Four International Airports as Special Economic Zones, the Introduction of Policies on Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Adherence to Employment Policies on the Enforcement of Expatriate Quota, and the upgrade of AIB to a Multimodal Accident Investigation Agency – Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

After about eight years of sustained implementation of the roadmap and implementation of other enablers in the aviation sector, the aviation sector witnessed unpreceded growth in spite of the Nigerian economy experiencing a recession twice within the period.

Hadi Sirika Receiving the OBC Certificate from the former ICRC DG Engr. Chidi Izuwa
Giving a scorecard of the aviation sector recently, Hadi Sirika said “We have successfully debunked the claim that aviation doubles every 15 years. Currently in Nigeria, the number of airports including those currently being developed has doubled, the passenger number has doubled, other entrepreneurship including catering and ground handling has blossomed, the number of airlines and jobs has multiplied” he said adding that even the 2020 global pandemic could push back Nigeria’s aviation industry growth.

A cursory look at the roadmap deliverables showed that Nigeria Air, the most talked a bit item on the roadmap is about 90 percent completed. The due process on the project by the regulator Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has returned a clean bill of health, the outline business case approved, the core investor and other investors unveiled, the full business case is being developed for FEC to approve and the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) has passed the second stage of procurement at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“Nigeria Air has the strategic direction, with a solid business plan for the next ten years and a start-up budget of 250 million US dollars. The Nigerian Government only invests 5% into this start-up funding (12.5 million US dollars), in line with its 5% share in Nigeria Air. By the transparent and structured PPP process the Government has ensured a clear ownership structure, including the leading African airline, with a secured start-up budget which gives Nigeria Air a solid financial foundation” said Prof. Tilmann Gabriel, a researcher on African Aviation.

The benefit to be derived from the establishment of the national Carrier are; reduction of capital flight from Nigeria; gain of the optimal benefit of BASA and SAATM; development of an Aviation hub; contribution to the GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector; and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.

Designation of five International Airports (Lagos, Abuja, Enugu Kano & Port Harcourt) as Special Economic Zones. Mr. President approved the designation of the Four International Airports as Special Economic Zones on 17th May 2021. The next step is the commencement of Implementation processes with NEPZA is ongoing. The Benefits of Special Economic Zones are i. more efficient and business-friendly trade environment with less bureaucratic red tape because of the associated fiscal incentives and packages; ii. attract world-class international and local Airlines/Companies into the Nigeria Aviation Industry; iii. attract investment incentives which include; Investment Policies and Protection, General Tax Based Incentives, Sector Specific Incentives, Tariff Based Incentives, and Export Incentives; iv. attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and generate employment opportunities and human capital development, thus stimulating the overall improvement of the Nigerian Aviation Industry; v. improve the overall ease of doing business in Nigeria and more.

Airports to be Concession are as follows: – Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos: a. Old International Terminal – Terminal and Ramp b. New International Terminal – Terminal, Ramp, Car Park c. Cargo Terminal – Ramp – Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano a. Old International and Domestic Terminal – Terminal, Ramp, Car Park b. New International Terminal – Terminal, Ramp c. Cargo Ramp. (To be developed). The current position is that Negotiation with preferred bidders on-going. Draft Full Business Case (FBC) finalized and the FG is targeting a completion period – 2nd quarter, 2023.

Establishment of An Aviation Leasing Company (ALC) An Aviation Leasing Company which would be private sector-driven will be established to address the challenges of limited access to capital and high cost of funds. The ALC will provide leasing opportunities for Nigerian and African airlines in order to boost fleet size, and alleviate the problem of aircraft leasing and high insurance premium charges. The current status is that a Full Business Case (FBC) has been completed and a certificate of compliance issued by the ICRC. And awaiting FEC approval. Project to commence operation by the 2nd Quarter, 2023 based on the projection.

Establishment of a Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) Centre. The establishment of a private sector-driven Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Centre is critical for the diversification and repositioning of the Aviation Industry as it provides aircraft repairs, overhaul, and maintenance services. Experts say currently this facility does not exist in the whole of West and Central Africa. MRO is therefore a necessary requirement to facilitate the development of the aviation industry.

The proposed facility will have the capacity to serve both Narrow and Wide Body aircraft maintenance requirements and will be located in Abuja. The Full Business Case (FBC) has been completed and a certificate of compliance was issued by the ICRC, which was subsequently approved by FEC.

Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities). The FG anticipates that the development of Nigeria’s major commercial airports and surrounding communities into efficient, profitable, and self-sustaining commercial hubs through increased private sector participation and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will create jobs and grow the local industry. The project will be structured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement where the private partner will be required to design, develop, finance, and maintain the Aerotropolis during the agreed period.

The Aerotropolis will contain the full complement of commercial facilities that support airlines and aviation-linked businesses. Other components of the project include the development of hospitality and tourism-oriented real estate assets; and ancillary support infrastructure. Currently, the land has been acquired, and the process for the selection of a preferred partner has commenced.

Development of Cargo/Agro-Allied Airport Terminals ..2 To take advantage of the high-value agricultural products potential of Nigeria, the need arose to develop dedicated Cargo/Agro-Allied Terminals and ancillary infrastructure in each of the six (6) geographical zones of the country to facilitate the movement of fresh produce by air. The terminals will be established via a Design, Build, Operate, and Maintain model of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The proposed terminals will have facilities such as a dry Cargo Terminal Warehouse; a Perishable Cargo Terminal with Cool Chain Storage; climate chambers for storage and handling of temperature-sensitive products including Pharmaceuticals and Bonded Warehouses. The procurement phase is ongoing and the selection of the preferred partner is ongoing with a target of the second quarter of 2023 as a completion target.

The establishment of Aerospace University. The school is tipped to arrest of the dearth of high-level management cadre in the Aviation Industry. it will also promote Aviation Research and Development. Already the concept note has been presented to NUC for their consideration. African Aviation & Aerospace University (AAAU) courses to commence 2nd Quarter 2022.

Commenting on the aviation roadmap Prof. Tilmann Gabriel said “The Buhari Government had promised a new aviation industry which the future of Nigeria can rely on. It took hard work by the many involved, driven by a Minister of Aviation never tired of pushing this Buhari strategy in the last seven years.”

Also commenting Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, the Director-General, of the Nigerian Mereological Agency (NiMet) said one of the components of the roadmap is the creation of an Aviation and Aerospace University which is already happening.

He also said the roadmap is providing incentives for professionals to stay. “This will curtail the mass exodus of professionals for our great industry with all the huge potentials” he stated.

He also said the roadmap has yielded partnerships with other countries and these have helped to improve the industry.

According to the DG with the roadmap implementation, most of the agencies now have their specialized training centers including NiMet.

“We now operate two accredited schools where we offer Diplomas in Meteorology and Climate Change. We will soon upscale to HND other short-term courses.:

Prof. Matzo also said “The roadmap has encouraged entrepreneurship and innovation. These components could impact reduction in brain drain and most of these have been captured by the roadmap implemented by the Federal Ministry of Aviation: he stated adding that all aviation stakeholders were a part of the development of the document.

Continue Reading





By Daniel Young, PhD


Asking the country to go back to 100% ownership of the national carrier is tantamount to repeating the very problems that created the failure of Nigeria Airways Ltd. Nigeria Airways, became a national carrier when it rebranded from West African Corporation Nigeria in 1971. Before this time, the government of Nigeria owned a majority share of the airline 51% and foreign investors owned 49% which is the exact model of what the now Nigeria Air represents; the only difference now being, that the 51%, that originally belonged to Nigerian government, is now being shared between the government: 5%, and local investors 46% while, the rest of the 49% has been earmarked for foreign investors.

When I read some posts by those who have kept insisting that we should own the airline 100% as Nigerians, I am reminded of the saying that, “those who would not learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes” Government ownership of the airline, which became the new model after 1971 acquisition of the airline 100% marked the beginning of the downward spiral that eventually led to the death of the organization in 2003 began.

There is no point rehearsing the history of the rise and fall of Nigeria airways, but one thing is clear, from the time the first cracks of failure began to show, many investors, consultant- necromancers, fake airlines and port-folio experts of different sizes and shapes and shades have shown up before successive administrations with magical solutions and ideas to resuscitate the dying airline or now dead airline.

Some have been legitimate, others, vagrant and criminally intentioned. The sum being that, over twenty intervening years between these attempts at solving the same perennial problem of establishing national airline have come and gone; with no enduring solution until Senator Hardi Sirika came on the scene.

With no prejudice, I was, at a time very skeptical about Sirika’ programs and did not waste time to condemn what I thought at the time to be incongruous with established protocols for founding an airline. I utilized every available opportunity to condemn and criticize his programs as some as still wont to doing.

May I submit, that you can call Sen. Hardi Sirika by any name you may wish, but there is no denying the fact that, he is a very deliberate man who learns quickly, and is ready to take corrections where necessary. It is this conscious approach to learning against the barrage of criticism from all quarters that has led him to this point where we could almost declare with confidence: Nigerian, behold, Nigeria Air!


In 2001, armed with IFC and BPE approvals Dr. Kema Achikwe was confident she would be able float a national carrier with Atiku primed to take over Nigeria Airways as an investor. The new airline was dubbed: Air Nigeria.

Unlike Sirika’ model marked by wide consultations across all stakeholder groups, the floatation process that followed Kema Achikwe’ idea was shrouded in mystery. The core investor that provided a special purpose vehicle for this fraudulent transaction was “WING AEROSPACE” incorporated in the UK with One British pound as paid –up equity. Behind this scam were two Asians who claimed relationship with Singapore airline as Technical partners; which was later found to be false by a team of investigators from AON.

These men came into Nigeria with no funds to invest; did not have the technical expertise for the role they intended to play but yet, were offered 40% equity in Air Nigeria. The following represent some of the numbing facts of that transaction which are now facts of history:

• Air Wing Aerospace was appointed partners 2 months before it was incorporated in the Uk. A clear case of backward integration.

• They had no track record or financial resources as investors.

• Air Wing Aerospace was handed over six Nigeria Airways prime properties by the Minister as collateral to raise start-up funds from Nigerian banks.


To be continued…

Continue Reading