Legal wrangling delaying the establishment of Nigeria Air (NWB, Lagos) continue with the West African country's Federal High Court chief judge reversing a decision to transfer from Lagos to Abuja a lawsuit by private carriers intent on stopping the government's planned new national carrier joint venture with Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International).

In a letter cited by several local media, Chief Judge John Tsoho said the decision to move the lawsuit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) was fundamentally flawed as certain facts had been concealed, which rendered the decision to transfer the case to Abuja null and void. He ordered the case (FHC/L/CS/2159/2022) to be remitted to the Federal High Court in Lagos for a new determination on its transfer.

"Therefore, following the dismissal of Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/271/2023 by Hon. Justice Omotosho, the transfer of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 is hereby cancelled. Accordingly, the case file in respect of the said suit is hereby remitted to the Federal High Court, Lagos, for hearing and determination of the pending application for transfer by Hon. Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa," the letter was cited by This Day newspaper. The judge did not indicate a date for the Lagos hearing.

The legal to-and-fro threatens to further delay efforts to resume the stalled certification process of Nigeria Air, which those involved, hope can continue in September as everything has been prepared. Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Mesfin Tasew has stated confidence that Nigeria Air could debut in October 2023. Proponents of the controversial new flag carrier hope that new Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo, sworn in on August 21, will end the current impasse.