Captain Dayo Olumide, Managing Director, Nigeria Air has told the Senate that the unveiled Nigeria Air jetliner purportedly launched at the twilight of the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari was a scam.
Olumide said the airliner that landed in Abuja on May 26, Friday was merely repainted and marked as Nigeria Air, passing off a wrong impression whereas it was a chattered aircraft from Ethiopia hired for a few days to showcase the logo to Nigerians and their shareholders.
He said this on Tuesday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to clarify the controversies surrounding the Airline which was launched a day before the expiration of the last administration.
The aircraft that came and left was a legitimate chartered flight which can be done by anyone who doesn’t have a license as long as you pay for it. But for Nigeria to operate an aircraft, it must be registered in Nigeria.
He added that the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days’ clearance from Ethiopia and was returned after use.
Olumide further stated that Nigeria only has an airport license which is one of two licenses required for operating an airline and does not permit one to carry out commercial services operations.
The MD further revealed that for Nigeria Air to get the needed license, it must have three aircraft before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority will give the country air license to fly and the three must be Nigeria registered.
According to him there are five phases or steps one goes through to get the license and Nigeria is still in phase one of the process.
While reacting to some reports that the passengers on board bought tickets, the MD refuted that the passengers were staff of Ethiopia airline that was brought in and at the end of the unveiling went back with their aircraft to Ethiopia.
Captain Olumide who has 40 years of experience in Airline operations further confirmed that he was appointed in February 2022, to secure the air operating certificate for the airline to fly and not to operate the airline.