19 September 2018

Nigeria Suspends National Air Carrier Project Two Months After Launching

Photo: Hadi Sirika/Twitter
(File photo)

The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced immediate suspension of its widely publicised national carrier, two months after it was unveiled at an international air show.

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria's aviation minister, made the announcement shortly after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon. He later posted the announcement on Twitter.

"I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim," Mr Sirika said. "All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always."

No explanation was immediately given for the cancellation by Mr Sirika, either in his press briefing after the FEC meeting or on Twitter.

The announcement comes barely two months after Nigeria unveiled Nigeria Air at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18. The government said at the time that it was in talks with technical partners in the aviation as well as aircraft manufacturers.

The project was expected to gulp billions of naira.

Critics and industry experts were wary of the project when it was launched in July, saying arguing that Nigeria cannot afford it at this time.

They also said the financial crisis that engulfed the defunct Nigeria Airways had not been resolved more than a decade after the national career stopped operations.

But President Muhammadu Buhari was adamant about launching a new airline for the country, a project he promised during campaign in 2015.

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