The Nigerian Government has announced it will formally unveil its planned successor to Nigeria Airways (WT, Lagos) during the 2018 Farnborough Air Show due to be held next week.

Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika told a press conference this past weekend that the start-up would tentatively commence operations on December 19 using a fleet of between three and five unspecified aircraft.

“By the grace of God, if all things are equal[sic], by December 19, 2018, we will have the first set of airplanes flying and we will increase the airline," he was quoted by The Vanguard newspaper.

"This airline will start slow and steady, it will grow and then from the business case that we have seen, this airline is expected by year three(3) to begin to make profit. We will make the investment and we will be patient enough to follow the business plan and understand the management of private sector. The intent of this also is to get to the 30 aircraft mark in the next five years."

Last week, the government regulatory body responsible for overseeing Public-Private Partnerships in Nigeria, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), gave its consent to the project albeit under conditions aimed at avoiding past mistakes that lead to the demise of Nigeria Airways.

In order to ensure the commercial success of the airline, the ICRC specified in its Compliance Certificate that the start-up necessarily be a public/private partnership with the state to have no role in the commercial decision-making process whatsoever.

"This Certificate is granted on the condition that the Federal Government demonstrates her commitment to leverage private sector capital and expertise towards the establishment of the National Carrier through the provision of an upfront grant/Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to fund aircraft acquisition/start-up capital," it said.

"The FGN [Federal Government of Nigeria] also agrees to zero contribution to airline management decisions and zero management control by the government. Any attempt to impose government control over the management of the Airline invalidates this certificate and the entire process."

The ICRC Certificate will now allow the Government to formally begin an open, international competitive bidding process to find what the regulator termed, "a world-class strategic investor to manage, operate, maintain and invest in the National Carrier".