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The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation, has proposed to expend another sum of N1 billion on the botched national carrier project.
The government, in its 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, also planned to spend N14 billion for the construction of the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
The full budget proposal of the Ministry of Aviation indicated that despite the silence on the national carrier project, the government still proposed N1 billion for the project.
The ribbons of the proposed national carrier were unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom on July 18, 2018.
Also, in the 2020 approved budget for the country, the ministry proposed the sum of N4.6 billion as “working capital” for the national carrier project, but nothing was heard about the project in the outgoing year.
In the appropriation bill sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari recently, the ministry also proposed to pay the sum of N250,000,000 as “consultancy fee” for the establishment of the national carrier which has divided most stakeholders in the sector.
The government, in the 2020 budget to NASS, also proposed to pay the sum of N304 million as consultancy fee for the same national airline project.
The government had now proposed to spend N6.7 billion on the aborted national carrier project in the last two years; N5.6 billion as “ongoing” sum for the project and another N554 million as “consultancy”.
Players in the sector have remained divided over the establishment of a new national carrier for the country since the demise of the former carrier, Nigeria Airways.
While a section of analysts believed it was good for the image and tourism of the country, others declared that it would create an uneven working environment for existing operators, arguing that most developed aviation countries lacked national carriers.
Before the “temporary suspension” of the airline in October 2018, the government had scheduled the carrier to commence flight operations on December 24, 2018, with a target of 81 routes on commencement of operations (local, regional, and international), 15 leased aircraft as at the due date, with additional plans to own 30 planes within three to four years.