Nigerian aviation minister Osita Chidoka has revealed plans to invest upward of $2 billion in the creation of a national airline for the country.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa Chidoka explained talks had begun with private investors to create the airline and boost the country’s aviation infrastructure.
Nigeria is home to approximately 170 million but lacks a flag-carrying airline.
Arik Air is presently the largest airline in the country, operating mainly from two hubs at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Over a four year period Nigeria also plans to invest in the rebuilding of dated airport terminals.
“The airline will be commercially run,” Chidoka told Bloomberg in New York.
“Conversations are on across many possible private sector organizations, both local airlines in Nigeria and then some international airlines.”
Angola recently announced a similar move in conjunction with Dubai’s Emirates Airlines.
Nigeria hopes to emulate the success of Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways, both of which have grown into regional leaders in recent years.
The country last year agreed a $500 million loan with the Export-Import Bank of China.
The cash will be invested in terminal projects in four cities including the capital Abuja, the commercial hub of Lagos, the southern oil centre of Port Harcourt and the northern city of Kano.
The contract to build the projects was won by China Civil Engineering Construction Corp.