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Nigeria suspends national carrier plans

Nigeria has pulled plans to restart its national carrier just two months after the government announced its intentions.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika said on Twitter that the Federal Executive Council had decided to suspend plans to start Nigeria Air “in the interim”, though no reason has been given for the move.

Sirika added that “all commitments due will be honoured.

Nigeria’s first national carrier, Nigeria Airways, was shut in 2003 and a subsequent attempt by in-country investors and Virgin Atlantic called Virgin Nigeria (later called Nigerian Eagle Airlines and finally Air Nigeria) ceased operations in 2012.

The plans for Nigeria Air were announced at the Farnborough Air Show in July and it was due to begin commercial flights in December. The government was set to own just 5 per cent of the airline, with the rest under private ownership.

According to the airline, it had identified 81 routes to pursue.

At the time, Sirika claimed the venture was “a business, not a social service”.