Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier will commence operations with the wet lease of three aircraft from most likely Europe, Capt. Tilmann Gabriel, the Transaction Adviser on national Carrier, has said.
He said this on Thursday in Abuja at a press briefing organized by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to provide more context on the proposed national carrier.
The Minister had given April 2022 as the date Nigeria Air will take to the sky after a failed attempt in 2018.
The national carrier in 2018 was unveiled at the Farnborough Aviation show, United Kingdom.
Capt. Gabriel said that as an expert who has been a part of many start-up airlines across the world, the leased policy is the easier and cost-effective way to start an airline.
He also said it is global best practice and even in Nigeria, some airlines have started airlines with leased aircraft.
Capt. Gabriel said that the leasing option is the best option now because with COVID-19, leasing companies have aircraft and crew idle and Nigeria will get a good bargain at this time.
He said the conversations with lessors in Europe has begun.
"We are taking to leasing companies but at the same time, we are ordering for new aircraft. With the wet lease, the lessor will provide the aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance. This will also reduce the rigor of certifications that come with unregistered," he said.
He also said the wet lease will provide an opportunity for Nigerian professionals to be trained ahead of the new aircraft acquisition.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said Nigeria Air will start with domestic operations, before moving unto regional operations and later long haul or intercontinental flights.
He also said the AOC certification has been applied at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) but centrally to speculations, the process didn't start now.
He said that based on the quantum of work that has gone into the planning, the April 2022 timeline set for the delivery of the airline is feasible but the airline managers may decide to launch earlier or delay it a bit.
He however noted that based on global conventions, airlines are best launched between March and October.