October 3, 2023
Investigations Media

Launch of Nigeria Air is fraud, says House of Reps

…MD clears air on controversy

By Clement Adeyi

The House of Representatives has upbraided the purported launch of Nigeria Air and declared it as fraud,
according to the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji.

This was after the major stakeholders in the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.

The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.

Members of the committee were disgusted when NAMA disclosed that the aircraft bearing Nigerian colours was on a chartered flight to Nigeria.

Other stakeholders who confirmed the disclosure noted that a chartered flight could be painted in any colour and with any inscriptions.

The managing Director, Nigeria Air, captain Dayo Olumide, confirmed that the unveiled Nigeria Aircraft launched by the administration of former president, Muhammadu Buhari, was a chattered aircraft from Ethiopia hired for few days to show case the logo to Nigerians and their shareholders

The aircraft bearing Nigerian colours was on a chartered flight to Nigeria

Captain Dayo disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to clarify on the controversies surrounding the airline which was launched a day to the expiration of Buhari’s administration.

He added that the aircraft that came and left was a legitimate chartered flight, insisting that such arrangement could be done by anyone who doesn’t have a license as long as it was paid for.

He noted that, for Nigeria to operate an aircraft, it must be Nigeria-registered.

He added that, the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days clearance from Ethiopia and was returned after use.

According to him, Nigeria only had airport license which is one of the two licenses required for operating an airline and does not permit one to carry out commercial services operations.

The MD further revealed that for Nigeria Air to get the needed license, Nigeria must have three aircrafts before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority would give the country air license to fly and the three aircrafts must be Nigeria- registered aircrafts.

Nigeria is not at a point of operating the airline yet

According to him there are five phases or steps one goes through to get the license and Nigeria is still in phase one of the process.

While reacting to some reports that the passengers on board
bought tickets, the MD refuted that the passengers were staff of Ethiopia airline that were brought in and at the end of the unveiling went back with their aircraft to Ethiopia

He added that Nigeria is not at a point of operating the airline yet, as Nigeria Air does not have terminal for international operations.

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