The Federal Government on Wednesday renamed the Ministry of Aviation to the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said that aviation and aerospace were intertwined and Nigeria had the need to proactively set its policies to align with future occurrences.
The Minister made the announcement at the sidelines of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.
Sirika explained that the alteration became expedient because it is on the exclusive list.
He, however, maintained that the future of aviation had experienced an advancement such that aviation and aerospace were intertwined and Nigeria had the need to proactively set its policies to align with future occurrences.
The minister further linked the development to the establishment of the African Aerospace and Aviation University in Abuja.
This is coming even as Nigerians look forward to the prospect of Nigeria Air, the country’s national carrier, flying before the end of the current administration.
Last month, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, assured Nigerians that Nigeria Air, which has been embroiled in controversy, would commence operation before May 29.
Speaking at the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023 in Abuja, the minister stated that the national carrier would commence local and international flights before May 29.
“Negotiation meeting with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria ongoing. “Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case,” he asserted.
However, aviation pundits have argued that this may be another failed promise from Sirika.
The Nigeria Air project was launched amid fanfare in 2018. The Nigerian government promised to establish a national carrier to compete with other successful African airlines.
In September 2022, the Federal Government named Ethiopian Airlines Consortium as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air.
The Minister of Aviation, Sirika, said Ethiopian Airlines won the bid with a consortium and would have 95 controlling shares in the airline.
While noting that only Ethiopian Airlines met the bidding evaluation criteria and the deadline, Sirika said it would hold 49 per cent equity with other consortiums holding 46 per cent.
According to the minister, the Federal Government will have only a five per cent equity in the project.
Also, in a statement released by the Ministry of Aviation said Nigeria Air would launch with Boeing 737-800 (NG) aircraft, adding that B787 aircraft, which would be for international operations, would follow thereafter.
“Nigeria Air, the new airline will be owned by a Nigerian private Investor Consortium together with a five per cent Federal Government holding, including Ethiopian Airline’s shareholding. Bringing Nigeria Closer to the World,” the statement read.