The Nigerian Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika has denied that a lack of investors was the reason behind the recently announced suspension of the establishment of a new flag carrier, Nigeria Air (Lagos), Sahara Reporters has written.

"Among the reasons being bandied around for [Nigeria Air's] suspension, especially in the social media, is the absence of interested and ready investors. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the national carrier project has an avalanche of well-grounded and ready investors," Sirika said.

He went on to name Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Afro-Exim Bank, African Development Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Airbus, and Boeing as entities which showed interest in financing the start-up carrier in one way or another.

Sirika also underlined that the project is suspended, not dropped and that the Nigerian government intends to return to the idea in the future.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed suggested earlier that the project was suspended to allow the government to find a better "funding structure", without going into details as to what it meant.

Although Nigeria Air is to be a new flag carrier for the country, the government did not want to become the sole founder and shareholder in the new undertaking. According to the original plans, the state wanted to keep just a 5% share for itself.

Nigeria Air was unveiled during the 2018 Farnborough Air Show in July. Sirika said then that the carrier had been in "advanced" talks regarding aircraft orders and their financing. Nigeria Air planned to launch operations in December this year.