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Nigeria Air Project Remains Suspended Indefinitely, Says Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo

Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo has confirmed that the Nigeria Air project remains suspended, raising concerns over ownership structure.

The Federal Government has confirmed that the Nigeria Air project remains suspended. During a ministerial press briefing in Abuja marking President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development Festus Keyamo provided updates on the status of the national carrier.

The Nigeria Air project was unveiled in 2023 by former Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, just days before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The launch sparked widespread concerns about the ownership arrangement, which gave Ethiopian Airlines a 49 percent equity stake, while the Federal Government held 5 percent, and a consortium of three Nigerian investors owned 46 percent.

In June 2023, the House of Representatives called for the suspension of Nigeria Air operations, labeling the deal a fraud. Following this, in August 2023, Minister Keyamo announced the suspension of the project until further notice.

“It remains suspended. It was never Air Nigeria. It was not Air Nigeria. That’s the truth. It was only painted Nigeria Air. It was Ethiopian Airlines trying to flag our flag,” Keyamo stated, “Air Nigeria must be indigenous, must be wholly Nigerian, and must be for the full benefits of Nigeria, not that 50 percent of the profit is for another country.”

Keyamo emphasised that the ownership structure of the suspended airline was not beneficial to the country. 

He reiterated, “Nigeria Air must be indigenous, it must be only Nigeria or it must be for the full benefit of Nigeria. Not that 60 percent of the profit is for another country. How does that benefit us? So it remains suspended.”

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