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Recently unveiled Nigeria Air chartered aircraft from Ethiopia – MD

By Oluyemi Ogunseyin
07 June 2023   |   11:17 am
The Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dayo Olumide has confessed that the recently unveiled national Airline was after all a chartered aircraft from Ethiopia.

The Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dayo Olumide has confessed that the recently unveiled national Airline was after all a chartered aircraft from Ethiopia.

Olumide made this confession on Tuesday when he was summoned by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on the aeroplane that landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He informed the Committee that Nigeria Air launched by the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari was hired for five days to showcase the logo to Nigerians and their shareholders.

Olumide added that the Nigeria Air was actually launched in 2018 and his own responsibility was to secure an operating certificate for the airline.

“It is a pleasure to be here and to finally make our position known where I can clarify all the misconceptions regarding Nigeria Air as it pertains to the technical aspects of it,” he said.

“As you know this airline was launched with the logo in 2018. Several things have transpired since then that has nothing to do with me.

“I was invited last February, my mandate is to secure an air operating certificate for the airline not necessarily to operate the airline but to secure a licence to fly. And that is entirely my responsibility.”

The Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, Senator Olujimi thereafter expressed the displeasure of her colleagues when she said that the entire arrangement of the Nigeria Air was shrouded in suspicion and secrecy.

While giving his response to Olujimi’s question, Olumide said that the aircraft that flew into Nigeria on the 26th of May, 2023 did not need a licence, so it was hired.

“I will like to address your question first before I go on. 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. Ever since 2018, all you have ever seen about Nigeria Aircraft were pictures, and 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 know.

“You see we have institutional investors, they are not in aviation, but they are putting their money for 10 or 15 years and to exit may be at the premium. 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. It is an Ethiopian-registered one.

“Why is it Ethiopian-registered? To operate aircraft in Nigeria, they must be Nigerian registered; on 5th November. That aircraft was not on 5th November registered because it was a chartered flight and it came in with just a few day’s clearance and off it went.

“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,” Olumide explained.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on Tuesday said that the launch of Nigeria Air by the Buhari administration was a fraud done in secrecy.

It specifically accused the outgone Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, of not carrying the National Assembly along in the whole process of establishing the national carrier.

Chairman of the committee, Nnolim Nnaji, stated this during a rescheduled investigative hearing on the controversial launch of the airline in Abuja.

At the meeting, major stakeholders in the deal involving the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the unveiling.