Nigeria has unveiled the name and logo of the country's new
national airline, which is scheduled to begin flying in December.
In tweets Wednesday, the Nigerian government said that it
would own no more than 5% of the new Nigeria Air.
"This will be a national carrier that is private sector
led and driven," a government tweet reads. "It is a business, not a
social service. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who
Nigeria Air has identified 81 viable international and
domestic routes. The airline will be aided by new terminals in Abuja and Lagos,
each of which will increase annual capacity at their respective airports by 11
million passengers. Nigeria is currently negotiating with Boeing and Airbus on
The announcement via Twitter coincided with a more formal
announcement Wednesday by Nigeria aviation minister Hadi Sirika at the
Farnborough Airshow in England.
Africa's largest country with a population of 190 million,
according to the CIA's World Factbook, Nigeria has no major airline.
Arik Air, its largest carrier, has been racked by financial
problems in recent years and now only flies within West Africa. State-owned
Nigeria Airways operated for 45 years before closing in 2003. A Virgin
Group-backed carrier called Virgin Nigeria Airways began flying 2005 in the
wake of Nigeria Airways' collapse, but after various name and ownership
changes, the operation shut down in 2012 as Air Nigeria.
A potential backer of the new Nigeria Air is Ethiopian
Airlines, which is Africa's most profitable carrier and one of its largest.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Ethiopian CEO Tewolde GebreMariam was to meet
with the Nigerian government about the proposal.