From Uche Usim, Abuja
Aviation Minister, Mr Hadi Sirika, has assured anxious Nigerian public that the long-awaited national carrier, Nigeria Air, would take to the skies before May 29.
The Minister Sirika gave the assurance in Abuja at the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum on Thursday.
The assurance comes amid an unvacated order of interim injunction instituted by local airlines, which restrained the Federal Government and other parties from executing the proposed national carrier.
Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, after consideration of the application and submission of counsel to the plaintiffs, (local airlines), ordered the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and other defendants, to halt all plans pending the determination of the motion of notice.
Nonetheless, Sirika said the government has devised other means to start off the national carrier that is expected to bring economic goodies to Nigerians.
He frowned at the legal hurdles stacked on the path to realising the project by local operators, who he said have enjoyed the robust support of the Buhari administration.
Sirika said the national carrier would help tackle the unemployment nightmare in the aviation industry, especially now that scores of young pilots are without jobs.
“50 pilots came to me saying that they had no jobs. We could easily employ them if we have a national carrier. It’s part of the benefits. China is about producing over 300,000 pilots to man its aviation industry. But here, our own pilots are without jobs”, he said.
He explained that Ethiopian Airlines offered a better proposal and as such emerged the preferred bidder in partnering to birth a new national carrier.