This was disclosed by Capt. Dapo Olumide, the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air on Tuesday in Abuja, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation.
He noted that ever since 2018, all Nigerians have seen about Nigeria Air were pictures, and drawings, not the real aircraft, and the management thought it was time to show what the real aircraft will look like also and to let shareholders see.
No operating license
According to Capt. Dapo Olumide Nigeria Airline is yet to secure an operating licence for full flight operations, adding that the processes were still in the early stages.
He revealed that the aircraft was used to lease the completion of the processes required for the operation of the airline.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Biodun Olujimi revealed that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika failed to carry members of the committee along despite the degree of respect he was treated with, he said:
“To state the obvious, he failed to carry members of the Committee along in virtually all ramifications despite the degree of respect members accorded him any time he was invited for meetings.”
He added that the charter flight from Ethiopian Airlines was legitimate, in a bid to unveil the Logo of Nigeria Air to Nigerians and shareholders of the company, he added:
“The aircraft that came in and left was a legitimate charter flight.
“Anyone of us here if we have a destination wedding in Senegal, we can charter an aircraft.
“You don’t need to have a licence to do that, you just charter an aircraft, an aircraft you paid for it, it will be brought here, take your passengers, and off you go.
“And that is what we did. but in this case, it was to unveil the Logo of Nigeria Air.
“Ever since 2018, all you have ever seen about Nigeria Air were pictures, drawings not the real aircraft, and we thought it was time to show what the real aircraft will look like and also to let shareholders see.”
He also noted the company has institutional investors who are not into aviation but have locked in their investments for ten years, and needed to see what the aircraft will look like.
“We have institutional investors, they are not in aviation but they are putting their money for 10 to 15 years, so they need to see what the actual aircraft will look like.
“So we brought it in here to show them what the aircraft will look like, then the social media dimension came into it.
“For us to get that licence which is my mandate, we must among other things have three aircraft before the NCAA will give us a licence and those three aircraft must be Nigerian registered aircraft.
“So when this aircraft came on a chartered flight, everybody said we have launched Nigeria Air, there are learned people in the aviation industry who could have countered that when social media came out, but they chose not to.”
What you should know
The House of Representatives faulted the process leading to the launch of Nigeria Air at the tail end of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, describing the exercise as a fraud.
This was made known by the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji while speaking at an investigative hearing with Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and representatives of the Ministry of Aviation on Tuesday.
Nnaji declared the launch of Nigeria Air a fraud after the major stakeholders in the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.
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