By Asmau Ahmad
The Emirates Airlines has made an offer to partner with Nigeria in its quest to establish a national carrier.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, stated in Abuja on Monday that the President of Emirates Airlines, Mr Tim Clark made the offer during a panel discussion at the Dubai Expo 2020.
The minister was represented by his Special Assistant, Mr James Odaudu, at the panel discussion held to discuss the future of aviation at the Dubai Expo 2020.
Clark said Emirates Airlines would be happy to help if assistance was requested of it in starting Nigeria’s national carrier.
He added that such assistance would elicit requests for clarification, mostly from the media and industry stakeholders in Nigeria.
Clark spoke in support of Sirika’s position that Nigeria had a compelling need to establish a national carrier, going by certain indices.
“Of course, Nigeria needs a national airline. There is an enormous business case for the national carrier. Nigerians are seeking to travel all over the world. Nigeria is a powerhouse in Africa.
“We are very interested in flying there because it is a rich nation in terms of demand for services,” Clark said.
Sirika said at the session that the offer by Emirates Airlines could not be anything other than an endorsement of the need, the zeal, and the process for the national carrier project.
He said Emirates Airlines’ move was also an expression of confidence of the international aviation community in the commitment by Nigeria to own its own airline.
He said the offer was an encouragement to the many bidders currently preparing their Public Private Partnership bids for Nigeria Air in response to the Request for Proposal advertised by Nigeria.
Sirika assured that the process for the acquisition of the Air Operator’s Certificate and the Air Transport License was well on course for the expected launch date of the national carrier that Nigerians would be proud of.
“As has been repeatedly stated, the whole process for the establishment of the national carrier and all the projects under government’s aviation roadmap has been guided by the principles of transparency and accountability.
“Boldly speaking, this will remain till the final delivery of the project,’’ the minister said.
Expo 2020 was a World Expo hosted by Dubai from Oct.1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
It was originally scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021. The organisers kept the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes in spite of its postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.