A senior member of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and the President/CEO, Top Brass Aviation Limited, Captain Roland Iyayi has slammed the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over the unveiling of Nigeria Air.
BizWatch Nigeria understands that Nigeria Air is the national carrier floated by the former President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
The unveiling of Nigeria Air was heavily criticised as Sirika did so with an airplane, many critics argued belongs to Ethiopian Airlines.
Sharing his sentiment on the Nigeria Air unveiling, Iyayi said the landing of the aircraft in Abuja signals nothing, adding that the former minister instead, took Nigerians for a ride.
His words: ”I doubt very much if flying an aircraft into an airport and having water salute to show people that there is an aircraft that has just been painted in the colours of Nigeria Air would amount to birthing an airline. The truth of the matter is, I think what the outgoing Minister had done is nothing short of taking Nigerians for a big ride.
“And I think it is a monumental fraud to sort of conniving with Ethiopian Airlines, having an aircraft that was on commercial flight for Ethiopian Airlines on the 21st of May, which is about a week ago, flying into Tel Aviv on an ET 405 flight, to fly into Abuja, only for static display will mean to birth an airline. That particular aircraft flew out of Abuja yesterday (Saturday, May 27, 2023), and as I speak, it is back in Ethiopia. And I can tell you that presently, the decals (sticker) of Nigeria Air stuck on it, is being removed and it is being quickly rebranded Ethiopian Airlines to be put back in service.
”So, essentially, all that we did was basically a charade by the outgoing minister of aviation, possibly to sort of block out, maybe, considering the fact that in the last sic to seven years, we have had about N85.42 billion in terms of budgetary allocations to Nigeria Air, which is supposedly a private enterprise. So, we have a lot of issues here that are not explained, and I think this desperate move by the outgoing Minister is just one in the line of several things he had done to undermine the entire Nigerian populace.”