Minister of State for Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has reassured that the December 2018 deadline for the take of the national career is sacrosanct.
He, however, debunked the notion that the take-off of the national carrier would end the operations of other domestic airlines.
Sirika spoke while receiving the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance from Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Director General Chidi Izuwah, an engineer.
The presentation of the Certificate of Compliance is an official approval of the process, which the project has gone through so far.
According to a statement in Abuja by the ministry’s Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Sirika said the importance of the national carrier was the reason the government decided to take the option of a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
He added that it was the only way to deliver a national carrier that would stand the test of time.
On the claims that the national carrier would sound the death knell for other airlines operating in the country, he said: “Nigeria, with a population of over 180 million people with so many un-serviced routes offers more than enough space for all serious airlines to operate profitably.”
He hailed the efforts of the ICRC Director General and his team in ensuring that the national carrier project remained on track through the observation of legal aid regulatory frameworks.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the way the transaction advisers have carried out their assignments with utmost diligence and timeliness, assuring that the national carrier that would be delivered would be world class in operation and management.
Izuwah said the presentation of the certificate of compliance was an official green light to proceed with the procurement process.
He said that his commission, in granting the certificate reviewed the Project Structuring Report, also known as the Outline Business Case, in line with the ICRC Act of 2005.
According Izuwah, the certificate was granted on the condition that the Federal Government has committed to leveraging on private sector capital and expertise towards the establishment of the national carrier through the provision of a Viability Gap Funding for the project.
He linked other conditions for granting the certificate as including an official commitment to zero-contribution to airline management decisions and zero government control.
Izuwah warned that any attempt to impose government control would invalidate the certificate and the entire process.
He also said PPP was the only viable option for Nigeria in view of dwindling national resources.