Ethiopian Airlines acquires 49% equity in Nigeria Air

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Ethiopian Airlines Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for the Nigeria Air, owning 49 per cent equity in the new airline.

Mr. James Odaudu, spokesman for the minister of aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, said in a statement released yesterday that Ethiopian Airlines emerged winner “after a careful, detailed and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)- governed selection process.

A consortium of three Nigerian investors – MRS, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund owns 46 per cent equity while the federal government holds 5 per shares.

The request for proposal (under the PPP act, governed by ICRC, is completed. After a careful, detailed and ICRC-governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%.

“The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the federal government of Nigeria, leading to a full business case, which will be expected to be approved federal executive council (FEC). We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks,” Odaudu stated.

He also announced that the airline “is well on its way to being launched” with three Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The carrier, he said, “will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian airports” while “other domestic destinations will follow thereafter.”

The statement also said an interim executive team of qualified personnel “has been working since February 2022 to set up all the necessary regulatory and industry requirements to launch the national carrier.”

All executives have been approved by NCAA, the air transport license has been issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“The money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC and be admitted starting an airline operation, is well within the 5 per cent capital investment of the federal government of Nigeria, that will be overall needed to establish the national carrier initially for the AOC approval and everything else required by stringent national aviation regulations, as prescribed in the FEC approved outline business case (OBC).

“This OBC is the milestone for the preferred Bidder Consortium and has been met by the submitted business plan of the preferred bidder. It is the overall share capital of around 300 Mio USD, provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next two years.

“No further FGN funding will be provided above the 5 per cent share capital of the next national carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air,” it added.

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