Nigeria Set to Relaunch National Airline With Major Ethiopian Investment

One of President Muhammadu Buhari’s election campaign promises in 2015 was the relaunch of a national airline.

Hadi Sirika, the country’s aviation minister, announced a shareholding plan on Friday, bringing it one step closer to reality.

Ethiopian Airlines will control 49% of the new airline, while the Nigerian Sovereign Fund would possess 46% and the Nigerian federal government will own the remaining 5%.

According to him, Nigeria Air would have a $300 million initial capital and 30 aircraft by the end of four years.

Before the year is out, Nigeria Air wants to start flying. It will start with a route between Abuja, the capital, and Lagos, the commercial hub, and then add more later.

The airline will be allowed to purchase up to 30 aircraft between the third and fourth year, according to Sirika. “We are planning to initially bring in six Boeing 737 aircraft,” she said.

Nigeria Air is a limited liability firm that won’t be affected by the government, he continued.

The agreement’s completion is contingent on negotiations over its precise conditions and Federal Executive Council of Nigeria approval. According to Sirika, the procedure could take up to eight weeks.

Buhari stake

Nigeria Airways, the previous national airline of the nation, was established in 1958 and was owned entirely by the government. However, poor management caused it to accrue debt and go bankrupt in 2003.

A national airline has been revived by several governments, but without success.

In order to establish the nation as a center for West Africa, Buhari has been working to revive a national carrier and expand the nation’s aviation infrastructure since retaking office in 2015.

Nigeria Air had its public debut in 2018 at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain, however its launch was abruptly stopped without warning.

With significant stakes in Zambia Airways, Guinea Airways, Chad Airlines, and Air Malawi, Ethiopian Airlines is the largest airline in Africa.

While Buhari cannot run for re-election, the restoration of a national carrier under his watch could enhance his legacy before the upcoming presidential elections in February 2023.


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