The Nigerian Government has announced that, starting from the week of 29 Nov 2021, it would start sending out Requests for Proposal to investors interested in owning shares in the proposed Nigerian national carrier, Nigeria Air, which government hopes would be quoted on the stock exchange.
Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirka who disclosed this in Abuja also said discussions with prospective investors were ongoing.
The minister further outlined the proposed shareholding of Nigeria Air:
46% stake exclusively for Nigerians
5% for government
49% for strategic equity partners.
On how the 46% for Nigerians would be acquired, Sirika said, “It will be purchased exactly the way you buy shares in any company, because Nigeria Air is a limited liability company for now, registered under the laws of the land and structured in a PPP (public private partnership) manner.
“So you purchase it the same way you purchase shares in any company and later it is our hope it will be listed and go through IPO (Initial Public Offering) and so on.” He further explained that the airline would start operations with three wet-leased aircraft, as it would take about 3 to 5 years to take delivery of an aircraft that was ordered.
“They will start with wet-leased aircraft and that’s how 90% of airlines in the world would have started. So they will start with a wet-lease of three aircraft and then continue to expand, place orders and then get deliveries,” he stated.
Sirika further emphasised that the Federal Government would not have any control in Nigeria Air, rather investors in the carrier would run the business. He stated that the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility for the carrier and others would begin in Abuja next year.
Sirika said, “On the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility, it will be started in Abuja and government has given 12,000 hectares of land in Abuja for the development of Abuja airport. In that 12,000 hectares of land, which all of it is a free zone, there will be the MRO facility, a second runway, new terminal building and various businesses. It is going to be a whole airport city.”
He said partners for the MRO had been approached and once approved by the Federal Executive Council, work would start in April 2022, adding that the facility would save Nigeria millions of dollars when operational.
The Aviation minister further added that the operations of Nigeria Air would generate over 70,000 jobs, which is higher than the total number of federal civil servants that we have in the country.
The Transaction Adviser to the government for the national carrier, Capt. Tilmann Gabriel, said efforts were ongoing to get the airlines certified. “A lot of work has been done and it did not start today, rather it started 3 years ago. An AOC (Air Operator Certificate) is to be applied for in the next couple of days from the NCAA, which is the regulatory authority,” he stated.