FG Approves N5bn Bailout Funds For Airline Operators

Hadi Sirika N5bn Bailout

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has approved the sum of N5 billion as a bailout for airline operators and other business owners in the aviation sector to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the country’s aviation industry.

The announcement was made on Monday, November 2 by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The Minister said the sum of N4 billion has been approved as a bailout for airline operators and an additional N1 billion for other business owners in the aviation sector.

Mr Sirika said the government’s decision to offer the bailout was based on recognition of the pivotal role of the aviation sector to the Nigerian economy.

The Minister made the announcement when he appeared at the Senate for a public hearing in respect of the repeal and the reenactment of the laws establishing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

Others include the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The announcement by the Minister comes after the Senate Committee on Aviation called on the federal government to bail out airlines to cushion the effect of COVID-19.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Mr Smart Adeyemi, emphasised that the amount for the proposed bailout is inadequate for airlines who are battling to survive.

The aviation and the tourism sectors were among the most hit by the contagion, which still has no cure, though efforts are ongoing to produce a vaccine.

In Nigeria, in order to curb the spread of the virus, the federal government shut down the airspace, making it impossible for airline operators to operate, though only for essential services.

The restriction was only lifted some weeks ago but the sector is still struggling to return to the pre-COVID-19 era. Some passengers are yet to fly since airlines were permitted to run.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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