Confusion continues to surround the certification - or not - of Nigerian startup NG Eagle (2N, Lagos), with unconfirmed media reports emerging that its air operator's certificate (AOC) has been extended for six months from September 20.

Approached by ch-aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was unable to verify the report or provide a definitive answer on whether the would-be carrier had been certified at all.

Nigeria's Business Day newspaper, citing an unspecified source close to the NCAA, reported that NG Eagle received its AOC on September 21, 2021, renewable every two years, and claimed it had seen the AOC issued by NCAA director-general Nusa Muhu.

What has become clear is that NG Eagle was a project by the state-owned Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) which aimed to transfer to it the assets of Arik Air (W3, Lagos), under its receivership, and offload the stricken carrier's NGN300 billion naira (USD384 million) debt pile. Politically, NG was viewed as a potential alternative to Nigeria Air (NWB, Lagos), the government's national carrier joint venture with a consortium led by Ethiopian Airlines.

Suspicious over the asset transfer plan, the Nigerian Senate Standing Committee on Aviation ordered the NCAA to suspend the certification process in mid-October 2021. At the time, NG Eagle reportedly was in the penultimate phase of its certification process with the authority. In February 2022, the National Assembly declared that it would not be certified until Arik Air offset an outstanding debt of NGN10.8 billion (USD13.8 million).

In March 2023, the Lagos Federal High Court ruled against the transfer of Arik's assets to NG Eagle. In April, AMCON reportedly sold its rights in NG to investors, who have apparently continued with the application process. The Independent reported that the startup is now owned by Ab­dullahi Ahmed, chief executive of Nigerian hospitality firm House of 5As.