Several weeks after its unveiling and without it being operational, the Nigerian government has suspended its national carrier due to take off in December.
“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured,” Aviation minister Hadi Sirika said on Wednesday.
“We thank the public for the support as always.”
The national carrier which was unveiled on July 18, 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show in London, was aimed at bringing “Nigeria closer to the world.”
During its unveiling, Sirika said it was going to run as a business and not a social service.
“Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.”
In the 2017 budget, the federal government, allocated the sum of N555 million for the establishment of national carrier and N200 million for consultancy, while in the 2018 budget, N50 million was allocated for the establishment of the carrier and another N20 million was apportioned for consultancy.
The project was not lauded by the public with many viewing it as another waste of public resources. Those against the creation of the national carrier argued against its profitability with the huge resources needed to be invested into it.
The Nigerian government awarded From 6 Communications, a branding and advertising agency co-founded by Pennie Nixon and Steve Doleman, the branding contract for the national carrier.
The contract was reportedly worth $600,000 (N183 million). The flowing green and white ribbon was heavily criticised by Nigerians, who berated the government for outsourcing the contract to a foreign company.
Although it was later stated that the branding project was handled in conjunction with a Nigerian marketing agency Image & Time and Airline Management Group (AMG).