The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has rescheduled its inquiry into the controversial launch of Nigeria’s national carrier, Air Nigeria, during the previous administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. The committee had initially invited relevant stakeholders to the hearing, which was initially planned for Monday in Abuja. However, many stakeholders had already left the venue before the committee’s Chairman, Nnolim Nnaji, arrived approximately two hours behind schedule.
The stakeholders invited to the hearing include the Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Ethiopian Airlines, and aviation fuel (Jet-A1) suppliers. Upon his arrival, Nnaji apologized to the stakeholders who had patiently waited and requested that the hearing be postponed to 3 pm on Tuesday (today), as reported by PUNCH.
A week ago, SaharaReporters revealed that the Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, had made a significant error in unveiling a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft as “Nigerian Air,” which actually belonged to Ethiopian Airlines. This aircraft, which was over 10 years old, was incorrectly presented as the Nigerian national carrier.
Information obtained from Plane Spotters, an aircraft inventory platform, indicated that the registration number of the aircraft is ET-APL, with the model as S Q4005C. The serial number is 40965/4075. It was initially an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, then operated under Malawi Airlines, and later reacquired by Ethiopian Airlines in 2015, where it has been in service since. On May 26, 2023, it appeared in Nigeria with Nigeria Air branding, but its ownership remained unchanged. The aircraft was first spotted in South Africa before flying to Nigeria.
The aircraft took off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at 9:55 am on Friday and landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at 12:43 pm. The Buhari administration, after eight years, failed to deliver on the establishment of Nigeria Air due to the controversies surrounding the national carrier. Instead of working with domestic airlines, represented by the Airline Operators of Nigeria, the federal government entered into a partnership with Ethiopian Airlines to launch the Nigerian carrier. As a result, the AON filed a lawsuit against the government and its agencies to halt the process.