This is a fun day at the Farnborough Airshow for African aviation. Earlier it was announced that Uganda Airlines placed an order for two A330neo aircraft. While the airline presently doesn’t have any planes, they want to commence longhaul flights in the next couple of years. They’re not the only African country announcing the revival of their national airline, though.
The Nigerian government announced today that they’re in the advanced stages of forming Nigeria Air, and that they expect that the airline will be flying by the end of this year (which seems really soon). They’ve already shared the branding for the new airline, and that it will have the slogan “bringing Nigeria closer to the world.”
They don’t just have modest growth plans, but the intent is for Nigeria Air to launch 84 routes over the coming years.
And it’s Nigeria Air
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) July 18, 2018
15 Years after the demise of Nigeria Airways and 6 after Air Nigeria, the country will get a new airline: Nigeria Air. It’s a public/private initiative, aiming at 84 routes.
Advanced talks with airframers ongoing, but business case still has to be approved: pic.twitter.com/yy9HV0Kd7k
— Richard_on_aviation (@rschuur_aero) July 18, 2018
How's how #Nigeria's proposed national carrier, called Nigeria Air, will look Unveiled today at #Farnborough #FIA18. Aviation Minister @hadisirika says it should be operational next year. pic.twitter.com/G8tHL2bVzs
— Paul Wallace (@PaulWallace123) July 18, 2018
This development comes 15 years after Nigerian Airways, the previous state-run airline, ceased operations. Here’s what Nigeria’s minister of state for aviation had to say about the new airline, per Airways:
“I am very pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country: Nigeria Air.”
“We are all fully committed to fulfilling the campaign promise made by our President, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. We are aiming to launch Nigeria Air by the end of this year.”
“I am confident that we will have a well-run national flag carrier, a global player, compliant with international safety standards, one which has the customer at its heart.”
The minister also indicated that at this point the business case still needs to be approved, which seems like a pretty important detail.
The minister did note that while the government will have a stake in the airline, “it is a business, not a social service.” As a result, the government won’t be involved in running the airline or deciding who runs it.
I’d love to see some of these new airlines actually succeed, though generally the more ambitious they are, the more skeptical I am. It’s one thing to want to launch a national airline, but maybe starting off with 84 routes in mind might be a bit extreme?