Chris Steven, Abuja
The Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika has clarified that the suspension of the national carrier (Nigeria Air) project was not the end of the project.
Sirika in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday also corrected insinuation that the suspension was as a result of lack of investors.
According to the statement issued by James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, the national carrier project had an avalanche of well-grounded and ready investors.
Sirika, said the investors included international finance institutions such as the Afro-Exim Bank, African Development Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, aircraft manufacturers – Airbus and Boeing.
“They also include airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Air etc. and some reputable individuals and entrepreneurs.
“The Office of the Minister of state for Aviation has noted, with consternation, various opinions, comments and observations in the media regarding the status and the reasons for the recent suspension of the processes leading to the establishment of a Nigerian national carrier.
“Among the reasons being given for its suspension, especially in the social media is the absence of interested and ready investors.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the national carrier project has an avalanche of well-grounded and ready investors,” he said.
The minister also stated that the country’s participation at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in July was not for the sole purpose of unveiling the Nigeria Air logo contrary to public belief.
He explained that the air show was also a meeting point with those potential investors who saw the event as another opportunity to market and re-emphasize their interests in the project.
“It is also pertinent to clarify that the Federal Executive Council only suspended the process for the establishment of the national carrier for the time being.
The project has not been killed,” he said.
The Minister had on September 19, announced the decision of FEC to suspend the project for ‘strategic reasons’ without giving further details.
The decision has elicited reactions from many stakeholders and other Nigerian who have suggested different reasons for the suspension of the project.