The Federal Government said yesterday that Nigeria Air will soon start flying, having got the aircraft ready and painted in its colours.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He also said that Council approved the sum of N721,266,733.64 for the maintenance and technical support at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
“Today in Council, Aviation had one memo and this memorandum is a contract that was awarded to CCECC and it is for the airport maintenance and technical support at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and… for a period of 12 months and the sum of the contract is N721,266,733.64 and the memorandum was approved.”
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On the likelihood of when the national carrier, Nigeria Air, should be expected to commence flight operations, the Minister explained that the federal government was already done with the initial processes and that it is just a matter of sealing the last move in obtaining the Air Operator Certificates (AOC) and the carrier will start flying.
He said: “Nigeria Air will soon start flying, we’ve got the aircrafts ready, they’re painted in the colours. We’ve crossed all the Ts and dotted the Is. We’re at stage five of the AOC issuance by the NCAA. Once that is done, the airline will begin to fly.
“So there are five stages, we’ve done stage 1,2,3,4 and we are now at stage five, once the AOC is given, the aircraft is ready to start to fly. Well, because the issuance of the AOC is in the hands of the NCAA, but I know it will be very soon, with an emphasis on soon. So as soon as we get the AOC, then we fly”, he said.
Asked if the kick-off of flight operations had been a result of the litigation by some Nigerian airliners, Sirika said “there’s no injunction against Nigeria Air’s operation, to my knowledge.
“The grievances by some airlines, for example, United, Azman, Max Air, Air Peace, if you are referring to that case that they instituted. Okay if you are referring to that case, I have no comment about it.
“I thought you were talking about something different, but if it’s that case, you have asked me before on this platform and I told you that it’s subjudice, it’s in court, so I can’t talk about it”, he said.
Meanwhile, the FEC approved the sum of N117,721,266,733 for contracts in the Petroleum Resources and Aviation ministries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Council approved the sum of N117 billion for the construction of the Oloibiri Oil Museum and Research Centre in Bayelsa State.
He said the project, which has been on the drawing board since the early 1980s, from the era of President Shehu Shagari, would be one of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s legacies.
“Council has approved a contract for the construction of the Oloibiri Oil Museum and Research Center to Messrs Julius Berger PLC, at the sum of N117 billion, with a completion timeframe of 30 months. This project has been on the drawing board for so long.
“The first time foundation stone was laid for this project was in the early 80s by President Shehu Shagari. So, this actually is a major milestone and it is expected to be a major legacy of Mr President in the Niger Delta”, he said.