The Airline Operators of Nigeria has voiced its apprehensions regarding the prospective launch of Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier. The delay in commencing operations stems from the absence of an essential Airline Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
In a statement to The Punch in Abuja on Monday, Prof Obiora Okonkwo, the spokesperson for the Airline Operators of Nigeria, pointed out that if Nigeria Air were to initiate operations in October 2023, it would do so without a valid Air Operator Certificate.
“The AOC is still at stage one. I am no longer inclined to invest my time in that matter. If they proceed with their October plans, they will be operating without an AOC,” Okonkwo remarked.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, Mesfin Tasew, disclosed in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Friday that the new national carrier, Nigerian Air, is poised to commence operations by October. He expressed the company’s enthusiasm for Nigeria Air’s entry into the domestic and international flight arena.
Nigeria Air has been embroiled in significant controversy, particularly during the twilight of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The carrier encountered obstacles in progressing to the second phase of the AOC process by June 2023, as attested by a communication from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Elaborating further, Okonkwo, who also serves as the chairman of United Nigeria Airline, underlined the importance of adhering to legal proceedings. He emphasized that any actions conflicting with a court order would constitute a clear breach of the law.
Expressing confidence in the judicial system, Okonkwo stated, “The court order remains in effect, and any divergence from it is a direct violation. The court is expected to address the matter appropriately.”
“We have conveyed our stance on Nigeria Air. Time is of the essence. The industry confronts more pressing challenges, which demand our primary attention,” he emphasized.