Suggestions that Aero, Arik be merged to form National Carrier not tenable – Sirika

The minister of state, aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said the suggestions that Aero and Arik Airlines which are under the control of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) should be merged to form a National Carrier is not tenable.

Sirika said it is not tenable because as the National Carrier, it would get entangled with the huge indebtedness of the airlines and other encumbrances.

Speaking in Lagos recently during the stakeholders forum, the minister insisted that Nigeria deserves a National Carrier for its many benefits.

He explained that the current efforts to establish a National Carrier predates the present Federal Executive Council.
He emphasised that contrary to the fear that the National Carrier will suffocate existing domestic carriers, it will rather benefit them and the industry at large .

It will assist in stimulating overall air passenger travel demand, develop new routes, enhance infrastructure and promote manpower development, the minister said.

According to him: “The current effort for the establishment of National Carrier was initiated before the composition of the present Federal Executive Council.
Mr President directed the then Ministry of Aviation to commence the process for the establishment of a National Carrier during the Ministerial briefing on the Aviation Sector.

The Ministry set up a Committee which came up with the modalities for the establishment of a National Carrier.
“The Committee in its Report submitted in September, 2015 recommended a private sector- led National Carrier with 10% Federal Government ownership and non-involvement of Government in the management of the airline but the provision of enabling environment for its operation.
Design and Unveiling of National Carrier Branding Strategy (Name, Logo and Colour Scheme)
The name and livery of the National Carrier ‘’Nigeria Air‘‘ were obtained by engaging the general public through social media campaign”

The minister explained further that due process was followed in design of the logo which included obtaining ‘’No Objection’’ Certificate with Ref. No.BPP/RPT/18/VOL.1/075 from the Bureau of Public Procurement.

He said no foreign company was paid $600,000 for the design of the logo as speculated, adding that the speculation that $8.8 million was expended at the Farnborough Airshow is unfounded and baseless.

Sirika said Nigeria presently has Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) with eighty three countries, many of which have been reviewed to create opportunities for domestic carriers but are largely not utilized (10 percent) due to the limited capacity of existing domestic airlines.

The minister added that the BASA with Qatar and Singapore were recently signed and ratified.

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