Monday, August 26, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Nigeria One due to be presented in early October; operations now due by year end.

NigeriaNigeria One, the planned new Nigerian national carrier, will officially be unveiled to the Nigerian public on the country's 53rd Independence Day on October 1.  The carrier's core will reportedly be formed from various local airlines who are indebted to the Nigerian government via its Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) with Aero (AJ) and the now defunct Air Nigeria (VK) listed among them.

Former Nigeria Airways 747 (AldoBidini)
According to ThisDay, Abuja intends to avail "about NGN200billion (USD1.24billion) through a transparent private sector Initial Public Offering (IPO)". Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, said her government would retain a 25% stake, with the rest in the hands of private investors, who thus far, are said to include an "international business tycoon" and an unnamed Middle Eastern carrier.

Princess Oduah also stated that Nigeria One will be formed through the amalgamation of the assets of all the domestic carriers that are heavily indebted to AMCON. In line with recent developments, the core is likely to be formed around AeroContractors, who were taken over by AMCON late last year. In May, a change in leadership was effected with a new Chief Executive Officer and a new Chief Financial Officer tasked with "revitalizing the airline for use as a business model for other carriers to follow." Air Nigeria's CEO Mr Jimoh Ibrahim recently went on record as saying the bankrupt carrier would see a resumption of services albeit "under different ownership."

Nigeria One is expected to begin operations before year end with its fleeting plans, while speculated about, yet to be confirmed.

Since the liquidation of Air Nigeria (WT) in 2003, Nigeria's government has bemoaned the lack of a dedicated, reliable national carrier capable of reciprocating on the country's Bilateral Air Services Agreements. Moreover, complaints have focussed on the perceived exploitation of the Nigerian travel market by foreign carriers, whose remittances are estimated to exceed NGN200billion this year alone.