Federal Government, Thursday, officially launched a new national carrier known as ‘Nigeria Air.’
Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation unveiled the name some few minutes ago at the Farnborough Airshow in London.
The airline will be formally launched on December 19, 2018. The logo and the colour is green and white.
Before now, the country had floated Nigeria Airways founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation (WAAC) with Nigeria owning 51% of its shares until 1961 when the country bought off the rest of it and it became its flag carrier.
Although it kept the WAAC due to its prestige, this was however rebranded to Nigeria Airways in 1971.
The airline had both domestic and international operation with its US link launched in early October in 1964.
In the early period of its operation, the airline which had a staff of 2000 leased aircrafts from other airlines until it procured its own which was a common practice. Gradually it began to purchase its own aircraft.
For example, the aircraft that flew from Lagos–London route were leased from Laker Airways and Ethiopian Airlines until a new Boeing 707-320C was incorporated into the fleet and deployed on the route in August 1971.
In 1975, its staff increased to 2,400 as its expanded its internal routes. Nigeria Airways provided flights to Abidjan, Amsterdam, Accra, Bathurst, Beirut, Brussels, Dakar, Douala, Frankfurt, Freetown, London, Madrid, Monrovia, New York, Paris and Rome.
Corruption is said to have played a significant role in the decline of Nigeria Airways with the country. It was reported that the airways became a cash cow for subsequent governments.
In spite of the injection of US$200 million into the company, it still could not salvage it due to the high level of looting that was taking place.
It was reported that between 1983 and 1999, about US$400 million could not be accounted for and the government launched an investigation to trace it to little success.