Nigeria is close to establishing a new national carrier, the Nigeria Airways, that would be private-sector driven, Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said on Thursday.
The national carrier would be delivered within the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari, Sirika told the media in Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub. The government had removed German-based Lufthansa Consortium from being one of the transaction advisers for the birthing of the new national carrier, he said.
"I think in the next couple of months, one month to two months maximum... we should be able to have our outline business base for this transaction," the minister said.
"I will say that we are very close to having the national carrier established. Certainly it would be within the first term of this administration," he added.
He also defended the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which Nigeria recently signed, stressing that the country would be the greatest beneficiary. The minister faulted the criticism of the move by airline operators in Nigeria, noting that most of them had refused to grow and were indebted to the aviation agencies.
According to him, the need to take full advantage of the SAATM informed the decision of the government to establish the national carrier.