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Airline operators allegedly sabotaging Nigeria Air project

June 26, 2023

There are indications that some airline operators might be sabotaging the Nigeria Air project, following an alleged launch of campaign of calumny against the immediate past Minister of Aviation Send Hadi Sirika for daring to launch the national carrier.

According to a source who wants to remain anonymous to avoid victimization lamented that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) led by the founder of Azman Airline and the President of Azman Group, Dr. Abdulmunaf Yunusa, and the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace Airline, Allen Onyema Vice President AON, have waged relentless war to frustrate Nigeria Air project

The Source disclosed that aside taking the Federal Ministry of Aviation to court and obtained an injunction to stop the process leading to the successful takeoff of the airline, AON had also written to the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the Nigeria Air project.

The AON in a letter to the then President wrote: “As your excellency is well aware, the administration will hand over on Monday, May 29, 2023 but the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, is planning to circumvent the court orders on Friday 26th May 2023 being the last working day of this administration and possibly to cover up the various infractions of Nigerian laws, amongst others.”

The AON tasked the President to stop the aircraft unveiling or risk “controversies on the action after the administration would have expired.”

The source stated that stakeholders have raised concern that AON had made good its threat and incited Nigerians against Nigeria Air and against Hadi Sirika alleging that over N500 million has been budgeted by some airlines to run a huge media campaign with the sole purpose of killing Nigeria Air and tarnish he integrity of Hadi Sirika. This is despite the huge patronage the minister accorded local airlines while he was in office” he stated.

According to him, the Minister protected local airlines and worked hard for them to get incentives, which include waivers in duties and VAT on aircraft and spares. He also ensured they got COVID palliative even when federal government agencies under the Ministry of Aviation didn’t get as much support from the government. Private airlines for a bailout for free brokered by the Minister” our source said.

Meanwhile, a cross-section of air passengers has expressed excitement over the planned national carrier as they hope Nigeria Air will help reduce air tickets that have spiked.

While experts have expressed optimism that Nigeria Air with Ethiopian Airlines as a technical partner will run an efficient and cost-effective airline business, they are of the opinion that with Ethiopian Airlines ong years of operations, they would be able deploy the right equipment for Nigeria Air, run cost-effective operations, and charge relatively lower fares.”

Some other experts stated that local airlines might be afraid ET will cash the cost of local tickets thus, they don’t want that to happen.
“These local airlines want to continue to milk us. This is why they don’t want a national carrier. We want the national carrier to help us end the suffocation by local airlines. Nigeria Air will liberate the industry” he submitted.

(The Guardian)

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