Abuja selects Ethiopian Airlines as a partner for its future national airline
Abuja is actively working to set up its new flagship airline, Nigeria Air, which has been in gestation since 2018. President Buhari's administration wants to see it in the air before the end of his term in 2023.
Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) would be the technical partner of Nigeria Air. This was at least revealed by THISDAY on Friday, September 16, 2022, citing a source in the Federal Ministry of Aviation. "Yes, we have selected Ethiopian Airlines," the Nigerian daily's source said. He added that a delegation from the ministry had gone to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to hold discussions with Africa's largest airline and that an official announcement would be made after the meeting.
"The Ministry of Aviation chose Ethiopian Airlines because it was the only bidder in the tender. Initially, the ministry wanted to have more airlines bidding, but since others did not, it chose Ethiopian Airlines. If the ministry wants to realise its plan to establish the national carrier, it has to start working with Ethiopian immediately, as there is not enough time," the source explained. "They are also preparing the training of pilots on Boeing 737 NG," it adds.
According to the source, the possible future partnership envisages that ETH - which had lost its strategic partnership in Ghana - will provide equipment (aircraft), technical and administrative personnel to Nigeria Air. For this, the Ethiopian side will hold 49% of the company, without making any financial investment. The Nigerian government will have a 5% share, while the rest of the shares will go to private Nigerian investors. However, since the beginning of the project to create the new national flagship, the government has never revealed the names of interested parties.
Nigeria Air obtained its Air Transport License (ATL) on June 6 and is currently working on obtaining its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). On July 27, the Federal Executive Council gave its approval for the acquisition of three aircraft, which should constitute the initial fleet of the future public flag. Its take-off, initially planned for this year, has been postponed to mid-2023.