Start-Ups Nigerian Government stops flag carrier project

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After a cabinet meeting, Nigeria has decided to suspend its flag carrier project Nigeria Air.

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On the Farnborough International Airshow, Nigeria announced the launch of a new flag carrier airline, Nigeria Air. According to aviation media, this plan has now been dismissed.

Nigeria┬┤s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika wrote 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. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always."

Specific reasons for the suspension have not been named. However, rumours have it that the flag carrier would cost Nigeria at least three billion dollars, and that Nigeria could not provide that money.

The initial plan was to finally have a Nigerian flag carrier operating again. In 2003, Nigeria Airways filed for bankruptcy and a year later, Virgin Atlantic Airways created the new national carrier Virgin Nigeria. However, this project was ended in 2010.

When officials presented the new Nigeria Air on Farnborough International Airshow 2018, they said that they had identified over 80 routes. In the proposal, it became clear that the federal government would own 5% of the airline in a private-public relationship.

The airline hoped to operate with modern aircraft, such as Airbus A330-900neos. Recently, private Nigerian carrier Air Peace announced the purchase agreement with Boeing over 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with a deal valued at approximately $1.5 billion.


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