Tuesday, July 16, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Purported fleeting plans for Nigeria One unveiled; eyes 50 aircraft by Q4 2014.

NigeriaThe first purported fleeting plans for Nigeria's tentative new national carrier, Nigeria One, have been revealed with an overall goal of acquiring fifty aircraft from various manufacturers before the end of next year.

According to Nigeria's ThisDay, Embraer short haul aircraft are to be used for domestic operations, Bombardier for regional services and Boeing for long haul international flights. All these aircraft would be delivered direct from the manufacturers, but it is not known as to whether or not they will be leased or acquired outright.

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, has repeatedly said that the overall venture, once set up, will be privately driven with government simply providing an "enabling environment" with funding for the fleeting exercise to come via Abuja's planned Public-Private-Partnership scheme, in which it will own just 25% of the equity, with the rest in the hands of private investors, who thus far, are said to include an "international business tycoon".

An unnamed Middle Eastern carrier has also  reportedly expressed an interest in partnering the venture after both Lufthansa (LH) and Air France (AF) allegedly declined an offer to come on-board as technical partners last year.
We have concluded plans to acquire 50 aircraft. Yes, it is good to start small but we don’t want to do that; we want to hit the ground running because we know the market is there. I know that it will surprise you to know that an international airline from the Middle East has invested in the national carrier together with other rich investors from outside Nigeria. Our strategy is that it will be operated on PPP. FG is not investing any money but will not have many shares.
An extensive MRO facility is also expected to be built.

Abuja is said to be in the process of finalizing the carrier's routes with negotiations ongoing with "some airlines" for possible code share and other partnerships.

The Congress of Aviation Unions and Professional Associations (CAUPA), however, has reiterated that before any operations can be launched, the settlement of all labour and pensions issues arising from the liquidation of the former national carrier, Nigeria Airways, has to be settled.