Ethiopian Airlines has reportedly submitted a proposal to the Nigerian government in relation to the start-up of new carrier Nigeria Air which was revealed at last month’s Farnborough International Airshow (FIA).
The airline’s chief executive officer, Tewolde Gebremariam is reported by Reuters as saying Ethiopian is among a small group with an interest in establishing a carrier in Nigeria.
He said as a Pan-African airline, the group has expressed interest to partner in the project and is among those being considered by Nigerian Government.
Ethiopian already has equity stakes in five African carriers including ASKY Airlines, Malawian Airlines, Chadian Airlines, Zambia Airways and Guinea Airlines.
Nigeria Air will be a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) between the Nigerian state and investors with December this year earmarked as the target date for the start of operations.
Speaking at the FIA, Nigeria minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika said the Nigerian Government will not own more than five per cent (maximum) of the new national carrier and the government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.
Sirika said plans are for Nigeria Air to have a mixed fleet of 30 Airbus and Boeing aircraft by 2023 and 81 routes (domestic, regional and international) have been identified now out of more than a thousand considered.
The previous state-run airline Nigerian Airways ceased operations 15 years ago.
Sirika also said at the FIA that new terminals in Lagos and Abuja airports will add 11 million passenger capacity in each of the two airports. Lagos currently does eight million per annum (was built in 1979 for 200,000 passengers annually), while Abuja does five million.