ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ethiopian Airlines Group won the bid months back to establish the Nigerian Airlines at a cost of 300 million dollars by holding a stake of 49 percent.
However, long months after the agreement was inked between the two parties, domestic aviation organizations that are active under the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) protested that the plan set by the Nigerian Airlines to give a majority stake to Ethiopian Airlines “is detrimental” to the country.
Subsequently, the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria prevented the Federal Government of Nigeria from selling the shares of Nigerian Airlines to Ethiopian Airlines Group, and a month ago, the Minister of Aviation of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, announced that the project had been suspended.
Though the Ethiopian Airlines Group has chosen to be silent on the matter for a long time, the Chief Executive Officer of the Airline Group, Mesfin Tasew, has now come up with a comment.
The Chief Executive Officer said that the Ethiopian Airlines Group was initially not motivated to take up the Nigerian Airlines project. But following the push from Nigerian Government to establish anew the Nigerian Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines Group showed interest to involve.
Mesfen said that, apart from Ethiopian Airlines Group, he had no any information whether other airlines would be involved in the tender floated internationally. After competing in the tender, the Ethiopian Airlines Group was notified officially through a letter that it had emerged winner and accorded the contract as a partner to establish anew the Nigerian Airlines. It was in this procedure, or after it had received the official letter from the Nigerian Ministry of Aviation, the Ethiopian Airlines Group entered into activities.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Airlines Group further said that if the Nigerian Government needs the help of Ethiopian Airlines, his institution is ready to share experiences and provide the necessary assistance. If the Nigerian Government decides to cancel the project, Ethiopian will respect the decision. “We will respect the decision of the Nigerian Government,” Mesfin said.
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