FG gets report on proposed national airline

The Federal Government on Friday received the report on the establishment of a national carrier from the 13-member committee it set up in August to produce the document.

The Federal Government said the report contained recommendations that would guide it as it works towards establishing a national airline for the country, adding that it was put together after the committee consulted with local and international partners.

The committee for the establishment of a national carrier was inaugurated in Abuja on August 25 at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

The country’s national carrier, Nigeria Airways, was liquidated in May 2003 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Previous administrations had made several attempts to resuscitate the airline, but were unsuccessful.

The Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Binta Bello, had during the inauguration of the 13-member committee in August expressed the hope that there would be a positive outcome and stated that the committee had four weeks to complete its assignment.

Earlier in the month of August, President Muhammadu Buhari, directed the permanent secretary to commence an action on the establishment of a befitting national carrier for Nigeria. In an interview with journalists after receiving the report, Bello said, “The committee was inaugurated based on the directive of the President and they are to advise the government appropriately on how to go about the establishment of a national carrier.”

Asked if the Federal Government would certainly inaugurate a national carrier any time soon, she replied, “Well, the report has just been submitted to me and I have not even opened it. Until I open the report and see the recommendations, I may not be able to say this is exactly what we are going to come up with.”

She stated that the committee kept to the stipulated time given to it by the Federal Government, adding that they did a diligent job.

“We gave them one month and they were ready with the report within that period. They met the target given them and were diligent in delivering the task. So we look forward to lifting Nigerians again in the air,” she said.

The chairman of the committee, Capt. Abdulsalami Mohammed, said the team consulted widely before coming up with the report.

He said, “The creation of the committee on the establishment of a national carrier has generated a lot of excitement and comments both in the print and electronic media as well as social media networks since its inauguration.

“It was therefore not surprising that we received a lot of memoranda from interested stakeholders within and outside the country. We consulted with a total of 74 stakeholders, ranging from airline operators to aviation agencies, service providers, financial consultants, institutional investors, aircraft and parts suppliers and former staff of Nigeria Airways Limited.

“Others include Maintenance Repair Organisation Developers, aerodrome designers/builders and aviation staff unions. The reports and recommendations we are submitting today are based on those consultations and terms of reference given to us.”

Mohammed said the committee had made far- reaching recommendations, noting that if accepted and implemented by the Federal Government, it would have positive impact on the aviation industry in Nigeria.

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