Dayo Olumide, the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air, has revealed that the airplane that arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on May 26, 2023, was a chartered aircraft from Ethiopia. A few weeks prior to this, an aircraft displaying the Nigeria Air logo was spotted in Abuja. Speaking to the Senate Committee on Aviation, Olumide explained that the chartered plane was arranged through Ethiopian Airlines in order to introduce Nigeria’s official airline. He clarified that his primary responsibility is to obtain an operating license for the airline, which is still in its early stages.
Senator Olujimi, Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, expressed her concerns about the situation and raised suspicions about the arrangement of Nigeria Air. In response, Olumide stated that the aircraft in question was chartered and did not require a license, as it was solely for unveiling purposes. He further explained that the purpose of bringing the aircraft to Nigeria was to showcase its design and provide reassurance to institutional investors who have invested in the project.
Olumide emphasized that the chartered aircraft was registered in Ethiopia, as it had arrived with short notice and did not fulfill the requirements for Nigerian registration at that time. He reiterated that, according to his mandate, Nigeria Air must have three Nigerian-registered aircraft to obtain a license from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). He also clarified that the process of obtaining the license involves several steps, and any changes in key personnel necessitate restarting certain phases, which is a standard procedure.
Olumide acknowledged the social media buzz that occurred when the chartered flight arrived, with many assuming that it marked the official launch of Nigeria Air. He expressed disappointment that industry experts who were aware of the situation did not provide clarification during the social media discussions.