The House of Representatives today declared the launch of Nigeria Air a fraud after the major stakeholders in the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, on Tuesday declared the purported launch of Nigeria Air at the twilight of the administration of former President, Muhammadu Buhari, a fraud.
The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.
Punch Newspaper reports that the members of the committee were shocked when NAMA disclosed that the aircraft bearing Nigerian colours was on a chartered flight to Nigeria.
Other stakeholders who confirmed the disclosure noted that a chartered flight could be painted in any colour and with any inscriptions.
Also the managing Director Nigeria Air captain Dayo Olumide confirmed to the AIT News that the unveiled Nigeria Aircraft launched by the Administration of Muhamadu Buhari was a chattered aircraft from Ethiopia hired for few days to show case the logo to Nigerians and their shareholders.
Captain Dayo made the revelation when he appeared before the senate committee on Aviation to clarify on the controversies surrounding the Airline which was launched a day to the expiration of the last administration.
He added that the aircraft that came and left was a legitimate chartered flight which can be done by anyone who doesn’t have a license as long as you pay for it.
He noted that , for Nigeria to operate an aircraft , the aircraft must be Nigeria registered .
He added that, the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days clearance from Ethiopia and was returned after use.
He further stated that Nigeria only has airport license which is one of two licenses required for operating an airline and does not permit one to carry out commercial services operations
The MD further revealed that for Nigeria Air to get the needed license, Nigeria must have three aircrafts before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority will give the country air license to fly and the three aircrafts must be Nigeria registered aircrafts.
According to him there are five phases or steps one goes through to get the license and Nigeria is still in phase one of the process.
While reacting to some reports that the passengers on board
bought tickets, the MD refuted that the passengers were staff of Ethiopia airline that were brought in and at the end of the unveiling went back with their aircraft to Ethiopia
Captain Dayo with 40 years’ experience in Airline operations further confirmed that he was appointed in February 2022, to secure the air operating certificate for the airline to fly and not to operate the airline
He added that Nigeria is not at a point of operating the airline yet, as Nigeria Air does not have terminal for international operations.