Four years after the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, unveiled the name and logo of the proposed national carrier at the Farnborough International Airshow, London, Nigeria Air, was eventually unveiled last week to much controversy, outrage and ridicule.


When the aircraft landed at the Abuja airport on Friday, May 26, 2023, it was greeted with a water salute, an action which is usually used to mark the first flight of an aircraft to an airport.


By Saturday evening, flight radar24 showed the aircraft had left Abuja airport and was enroute Addis Ababa from Central African Republic. On Sunday morning, the flight tracker showed the plane had landed at Ethiopia and on Wednesday, May 31, the aircraft was fully back with ET and had commenced its usual Addis Ababa –Mogadishu route.



The outrage that greeted this discovery was swift. A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Roland Iyayi, described it as a monumental fraud.


“I think it is a monumental fraud to assume that by conniving with Ethiopian Airlines, having an aircraft that was on commercial flight for ET on May 21 or maybe a week ago, flying into Tel Aviv on an ET405 flight to fly into Abuja only for static display and then taken out, would mean to birth an airline. I can tell you that the deck house of Nigeria Air stuck on it has been removed and rebranded for ET to be put back in service. So, all that we saw a few days ago was a charade by the outgoing Minister of Aviation, possibly to sort of block out, considering the fact that in the last seven to eight years, we have had about N85.42bn in allocation to Nigeria Air, which is supposedly a private enterprise,” he said.



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