July 25, 2018: Nigeria’s government is seeking a strategic partner to invest up to $300 million and operate Nigeria Air, according to reports.

The country’s national carrier, Nigeria Airways wholly-owned by the government ceased to operate in 2003. Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, said the government would not own more than five per cent in Nigeria Air. He made the comments while providing details of the airline at the Farnborough Air Show in England. The government plans to launch the airline in December.

Decades of neglect and lack of investment have left Nigeria with low-quality infrastructure seen as a hurdle to prosperity. The government has said that upgrading it will require private investment.

“The initial capital is likely to be in the range of $US 150 to 300 million, invested in tranches over time from start up through the first years of operation,” a government release stated. The government will facilitate the process for opening up the capital of the airline to private sector financial investors,” it stated.

A private operator, sought through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) process, will manage the airline without interference. Nigeria Air would serve domestic and international markets and expects to have a fleet of 30 aircrafts in five years with hubs in Lagos and Abuja.

Nigeria is overhauling its aviation infrastructure and handing over its airports to private managers in order to improve the business environment for the industry sector to attract investment, the document said. The current air traffic in Nigeria is around 15 million passengers which is estimated to touch five per cent per annum by 2036.

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