Court orders status quo on Nigeria Air, shift hearing till February 13
Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered all parties involved in the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, to maintain the status quo till February 13, 2023.
By implication, the December take-off date of the new airline may no longer be feasible.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa at the Federal High Court gave the status quo order pending the determination of the suit filed by six stakeholders against Nigeria Air and the partnership between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines.
The Court has equally adjourned proceedings on the matter till February 13, 2023.
The court has earlier issued an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Federal Government and other parties from executing the proposed National Carrier, Nigeria Air.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had urged the court to stop the national carrier deal and withdraw the AirTransport Licence (ATL) already issued to Nigeria Air by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
They also claimed that the firm that served as Transaction Adviser for the transaction was incorporated in March the last year and alleged that the company was linked to the aviation minister. The local airlines further alleged that ATL issued to Nigerian Air did not pass through the normal security clearance.
One of the defendants and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had, however, said the national carrier project was on course despite the stiff opposition from some stakeholders including the AON.
Sirika had denied knowledge of the suit, adding that the new carrier would continue according to the plan.
He said since the aviation roadmap was drawn and unveiled to the public, for every step taken, stakeholders were carried along including the unions and airline operators.
According to him, he personally and through other formal means invited the operators to be part owners of the national carrier but refused to give different excuses, adding that, kicking against the choice of Ethiopian airlines as strategic investors was uncalled for.