The federal government has reportedly picked Ethiopian Airlines as a technical partner and core investor for the planned national carrier, Nigeria Air.
The selection, according to ThisDay, will be announced soon.
A source at the ministry of aviation told ThisDay that representatives of the ministry had travelled to Addis Ababa to finalise the agreements.
“Yes, we have selected Ethiopian Airlines. We have agreed to work with the airline, and we are hoping to make the announcement soon,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.
The source added that the ministry had started a training programme for the personnel of the planned national carrier at the Ethiopian Airlines facility in Addis Ababa.
“I heard the minister sent some pilots there some time ago for training. But it was ab-initio training. They are also preparing for the training of pilots on Boeing 737 NG aircraft. Ethiopian will provide the technical management,” the source added.
The source further said that Ethiopian Airlines would provide equipment, technical personnel and management for the airline.
“Ethiopian Airlines has the equipment needed for the startup of the new national carrier, Nigeria Air. It has many Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, which would be the equipment that would be deployed with the additional deployment of a few Boeing B737 NG aircraft. The airline is most prepared to support the Nigerian government to actualise its national carrier ambition,” the source said.
At the end of the first federal executive council (FEC) meeting in September, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said the federal government had spent N651 million on transaction advisory services for the airline project.
Sirika said the ministry would soon request the council’s approval of the full business case, a public-private partnership guided by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) regulations.
The federal government had said it would have a five percent stake in the Nigeria Air project with no government control.
In April, Sirika disclosed that Emirates Airlines also indicated an interest in the airline project
The airline had obtained an air transport licence (ATL), the preceding step to acquiring an air operator’s certificate (AOC). The airline applied for the certificate in April 2022.
SOURCE: The Cable