According to reports from Bloomberg, the new national carrier, Nigerian Air, is set to commence operations in October of this year. The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mesfin Tasew, who owns a 49% stake in the airline, disclosed in an interview with Bloomberg TV that they are eagerly anticipating the launch of Nigeria Air, with both local and international routes.
Controversially, Ethiopian Airlines won the bid to operate the proposed Nigeria Air in 2022, leading to complaints from local players who felt that the bidding process favored the company. Nevertheless, Tasew revealed that the airline will start its operations with two wide-bodied planes and six narrow-bodied aircraft. He emphasized their goal of connecting the Nigerian market with the global market.
Tasew further stated that Ethiopian Airlines aims to assist Nigeria in establishing its own flag carrier using their proven management model. Under a management contract, Ethiopian Airlines will oversee the success of the Nigerian Airline.
Despite acknowledging the challenging business environment in Nigeria, Tasew remains optimistic due to the country’s large economy and its potential for growth.
Nigeria Air was unveiled in London in 2018 but has since been embroiled in controversies, particularly when it was launched just days before the end of the Buhari administration. This raised questions about the ownership of the aircraft used for the launch, which was later confirmed to belong to Ethiopian Airlines by former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.
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