After a detailed and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)- governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as preferred bidder for the operation of Nigeria Air.
Nigeria Air is a proposed airline and flag carrier in Nigeria. The name and logo was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in July 2018.
The business arrangement will offer an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%.
The Hon. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika made this known in a press conference held in Abuja, Friday while updating status of the Nigeria Air and the PPP Bidding Process.
According to Sirika, the consortium has been subject to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Assuring that this process will take 6-8 weeks, Sirika added that an interim Executive Team of highly skilled aviation experts has been working since February 2022 to set up all the necessary regulatory and industry requirements to launch the National Carrier.
“All Executives have been approved by NCAA, the Air Transport License has been issued by NCAA, Nigeria Air (after having identified the first three aircraft) will now finalize all necessary Operation Manuals and then go through the inspection and approval process of NCAA”.
He said “the money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC and be admitted starting an airline operation, is well within the 5% capital investment of the Federal Government of Nigeria, that will be overall needed to establish the National Carrier initially for the AOC approval and everything else required by stringent national aviation regulations, as prescribed in the FEC approved Outline Business Case (OBC)”.
He said this OBC is the milestone for the preferred Bidder Consortium and has been met by the submitted business plan of the preferred bidder, adding that “It is the overall share capital of around 300 Million USD, provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next two years”.
According to him, no further FGN funding will be provided above the 5% share capital of the next national Carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air. The invitation to bid for the ownership of Nigeria Air under the PPP regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and overseen by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) was published in the Economist and in several local Nigerian papers on 5th March 2022.
Explaining further, the Minister said that the National Carrier, Nigeria Air, is well on its way to being launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
For a start, Sirika also hinted that Nigeria Air will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian Airports.
Other domestic destination, he said, will follow thereafter. The Request for Proposal (RFP) under the PPP act, governed by ICRC, is completed.