Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has revealed the reasons why the federal government has chosen Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder for national airline Nigerian Airlines.
The minister said Ethiopian Airlines was the only airline that responded to its Letter of Intent and fulfilled all the prescribed conditions imposed by Nigeria.
Sirika revealed this when presenting the ministry’s scorecard in Abuja on Thursday, saying that the rest of the world’s airlines had ignored Nigeria’s call to join her in launching a national airline, even though he traveled to the airline in person and at several meetings Meet with them at air shows and international aviation forums to convince them to work with the country.
However, he said, the airline has proved not only that it is efficient and prosperous, registering more than $1 billion in after-tax profits even after COVID-19, but that it continues to thrive despite the challenges facing the global aviation industry.
He added: “We did not cede Nigerian Airlines to Ethiopian Airlines. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the only airline in the world to make a profit of $1 billion. It is the most prosperous, efficient and The leading airline and the only airline to operate this airline in response to our request for partnership after months of intent advertising.
“Even after some interested people asked Nigeria to extend the EoI and we did, none of them showed interest. Aviation Ministry officials led by me personally visited some of the world’s leading airlines and implored them to establish a partnership with Nigeria. Partnerships, of which they have no interest other than Ethiopian Airlines, have allocated 49%, while Nigerian institutional investors have 45% and the federal government has only 5%.
“Choosing Ethiopian Airlines is good for Nigeria and in line with the African Union agenda. We want to bring Africa together and lead the African aviation market through our new partnership with Ethiopian Airlines. Compared to the current situation, the partnership will also Reduce operating costs and airfares for Nigerian and African air passengers.
“Contrary to what people think, it is impeccable to let people know that Ethiopian Airlines is the preferred partner of Nigerian Airlines through a transparent and credible process because we want this project to be successful so that Nigeria can have a company that does not The fate of the affected airline ex-Nigeria Airlines.”
Going forward, the minister further said that all airports in the country must be constructed and operated in accordance with the aviation master plan that has been drawn up to avoid the chaos already seen at many airports, including Lagos International Airport, despite the costs involved, with many buildings already in place. Demolition marked for overall public interest.
Regarding the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Abuja, the minister pointed out that the entire section from Bill Clinton Road to Guaguwalada has been occupied by the Abuja Airport Master Plan and any development that does not comply with the Master Plan will will be removed.
He therefore warned individuals and entities currently working on development projects in the area, covering an area of about 12,000 hectares, to suspend and wait for further information to avoid demolition.
The Minister further warned international airlines operating in Nigeria to respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, dignity and honour in its operations under the bilateral air services agreement signed with Nigeria and not to arbitrarily threaten Nigeria due to delays in the repatriation of funds.
These airlines need Nigeria as much as Nigerians need their services, so they should show respect, patience and understanding towards Nigeria, he said, adding that the trapped funds will be cleared by the end of the year.