© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ethiopia bids to take over Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik
Ethiopian Airlines, which is wholly owned by the Ethiopian government, has made an offer to the federal government to take over the management of Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest airline.
Esayas Weldemariam , Director of International Service at the Ethiopian Airlines Group, confirmed the takeover plan to CNN.
“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” WoldeMariam said. “We are capable and desirous of handling the airline.”
He said the Ethiopian Airlines submitted a formal offer to take over Arik after the Nigerian government opened a bid.
“Following the bid opened by the Nigerian government, we are negotiating to secure management contract of Arik Air,” he said. “We are bidding with other airlines, if we agree on the negotiations, we are ready to go and take over the management.”
Following the failure to service its debts and pay employees’ salaries, Arik Air was taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in February.
With Nigeria not having a national carrier, Arik Air, being the largest private airline in the country, has been serving as the unofficial national carrier.
Ethiopian Airlines is one of the fastest-growing and most profitable carriers in Africa.
The airline reported a 10 percent increase in revenue to $2.4 billion for 2015/16, with a 70 percent rise in profits, and passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million.
Ethiopia is pursuing ambitious development at home, with the $345 million expansion of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport.
Ethiopian Airlines also manages Asky Airlines in Lome, in a joint ownership with the Togo government, and the Malawian Airlines, also jointly with the government.
The airline currently has a fleet of 92 aircrafts, flying to 104 international 19 local destinations.
Ethiopian Airline currently operates direct international flight to Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna and Enugu airports