The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has received praise and support for his decision to halt all operations linked to the development of Nigeria Air, the country’s flag carrier, and other initiatives.
This was revealed by the group in a statement released on Friday by Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, its spokeswoman.
The AON congratulated the minister for displaying exceptional bravery and a deep sense of patriotism to spare Nigeria from additional aviation-related shame.
On Thursday, Keyamo suspended the Nigeria Air and airport concession projects while visiting the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. He did this until he could brief the President on his findings.
We, the whole membership of the Nigerian airline operators, commend Olorogun Festus Keyamo SAN for stopping all operations linked to the operationalization of Nigeria Air, according to a portion of the statement.
“By taking this move, the minister has shown exceptional bravery and a deep sense of patriotism, saving Nigeria from additional aviation-related disgrace.
Apart from those involved in the aviation sector, it was clear to everyone who had followed the Nigeria Air project’s progress throughout the recently concluded government that the plan was not only poorly thought out but also lacked even a semblance of transparency.
That the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, which looked into the procedure and announced start of Nigeria Air on Friday, June 2, 2023, called it a “fraud” comes as no surprise.
Okonkwo went on to say that the AON and other aviation industry stakeholders had long believed that the Nigeria Air project, under the previous administration, was poorly planned and lacking in transparency. He added that the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation’s investigation of the project referred to it as a “fraud.”
Nigeria Air, the planned national carrier, had a history of controversy, particularly in the last months of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency.
According to a letter from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, it was unable to go on to phase two of the AOC procedure in June 2023.
The AON maintained its confidence, nevertheless, that the minister would endeavour to make things right and improve Nigeria’s reputation in the international aviation community after the Nigeria Air project was suspended to allow for a careful examination.
It said that it thought the parameters laid forth by the previous aviation minister for the flotation of a national carrier would be damaging to the Nigerian aviation industry and could pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines’ hegemony.
“It remains a mystery to Nigerians why the procedures for actualizing such a significant national project were shrouded in almost complete secrecy until the end of the last government,” the statement adds. However, we are still sure that Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo SAN would make things right and assist Nigeria’s reputation in the international aviation family by delaying the Nigeria Air project to allow for a careful examination.
As Ethiopian Airlines waits in the wings for a full takeover, AON maintains that it is improper to flog a national carrier under the conditions outlined by the previous aviation minister. Doing so would damage, if not completely destroy, Nigeria’s aviation industry.
“There is no question in our minds that the new Aviation Minister has the proper perspective for the growth of the industry, one that is motivated by public interest concerns for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Once more, the AON commends the minister for the outstanding leadership he has displayed so early in his tenure and pledges our unwavering support in his efforts to reform the aviation sector and implement other elements of the aviation roadmap for the benefit of the Nigerian economy as a whole.”