National Air Carrier To Debut 2012, Says Minister FROM JOKE AKANMU/GUARDIAN

PLANS have reached advanced stage for the take off of the Nigeria National air-carrier by the year
2012, the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Odua, has said.

The Minister, who revealed this at the commissioning of the Very Important Personality (VIP) lounge
of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, said that the air carrier would be completely driven by the
private sector.

She said: “The Federal government will not have any percentage in the shares, it would be all private
sector, we have to own it but that doesn’t stop us. America has more than five carriers; any one of them
that meets the criteria could be our national carrier. There are criteria, so any one of them that meets the

criteria can be our national carrier.”

She further disclosed that in addition to the existing airport, six additional terminals would be constructed
to be located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto and Jos.

Odua said that some of the terminals would be designated for cargo purposes mainly use for exporting
agricultural produce, adding that the airport will have the capacity to export farm produce, which would,
among others, create employment.

“We have huge agro potential in Nigeria, we should be able to add a value process to that, which means
if you are planting Okro in your village and to have excess and you want to export it, you can do that,
because in the Arab country, they don’t farm and we can farm here and export it to other countries like
what is being done in other countries, and by so doing we have value added chain in our economy,” she
affirmed.

According to her, the construction of the new terminals, which would be for a period of 12 months, is to
commence by January.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, expressed optimism on the quick takeoff of
the Nigerian National air-carrier, saying that the National Assembly is ready to provide the industry the
necessary support to realize their plan.

He, however, commended the Ministry for taking a strong position regarding the controversy
surrounding the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement.

Author: nmmin

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