The Nigerian national carrier is inching towards fruition as the Federal Government at the weekend received the Outline Business Case (OBC) of compliance certificate from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
The OBC was developed by a consortium of transaction advisors which comprised of the Airline Management Group Ltd, Avia Solutions Ltd and Tianerro FZE. They were appointed in March 2018 by the government.
Receiving the OBC certificate from the ICRC, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, assured that the process towards procuring the national carrier was detailed and transparent and the airline will be profitable in the first three years in operation.
He said the new airline will commence operation on December 19, 2018 with five aircraft, to gradually grow capacity to 30 aircraft in five years.
The OBC specified that government should inject $8.8m in viability gap funding and the upfront grant required to leverage private sector investment going forward. It also specified $300m capital injection in three years by the operators of the national carrier for sustainability.
The minister assured that in spite of government’s $8.8m gap fund, the management and business decisions of the national carrier will be 100 per cent determined by the private sector managers.
“The government will step in to cover the viability gap funding, and thereafter, it will ease out. But even with the gap funding, the government will never get involved in the management of the national carrier,” he said.
“All things being equal, on December 19th, 2018 we will have the first set of airplanes flying this airline. It will make profit in three years after operations. We will make the investments and follow the business plan through private sector management,” Sirika assured.
Speaking further on the investment plan, he said the airline will get to the 30 aircraft mark in five years but will begin with five aircraft on the day of its launch.