Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, Mr. Mesfin Tasew, revealed the carrier’s lack of intent to establish an airline in Nigeria. The Nigerian government had extended an invitation to collaborate on creating a national carrier, Nigeria Air.
Initially reluctant, Ethiopian Airlines resisted the invitation but eventually acquiesced during the finalization of shareholding agreements with Nigeria. Legal challenges arose as various entities sought a court order to impede the establishment of Nigeria Air.
Consequently, Ethiopian Airlines considered withdrawal, yet the Nigerian government insisted on proceeding. Currently, the airline remains undecided about continuing the Nigeria Air establishment process.
Tasew emphasized that Nigeria Air predated Ethiopian Airlines’ involvement, asserting that the airline was already established before the partnership invitation.
Regarding the bidding process, Tasew explained, “We submitted our proposal, respecting the Nigerian government’s request. We received a letter from the Ministry of Aviation, confirming Ethiopian Airlines’ selection.
Furthermore, Tasew clarified that the federal government initiated the request for Nigeria Air’s livery on Ethiopian Airlines’ aircraft. He recounted, “The leadership of Nigeria Air requested aircraft painted with the Nigerian logo to expedite the Air Operators’ Certificate. We complied, flying a painted aircraft for NCAA inspection.”
The CEO highlighted that the decision to cancel or continue the project lies with the government. He stated, “If the government wishes to cancel, we have no issue. If they opt to continue, resolution of the legal case in court is necessary.” Ethiopian Airlines awaits the government’s decision, emphasizing their collaborative stance initiated by the government’s initiative.