Nigeria is hoping to get a national carrier that can serve international purposes as well with the help of Ethiopian Airlines.
The Ethiopian Airlines on Friday revealed that it had been meeting with Nigerian government officials as well as the private sector towards establishing an international carrier for Nigeria.
Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde Gebremariam told journalists in Nigeria’s capital Abuja that it is high time Nigeria had an indigenous airline operating on the international stage.
Gebremariam said “We have been discussing and exploring possibilities to establish or support a strong airline in Nigeria.
I don’t mean that there is no strong airline in Nigeria, but we want an airline that can satisfy the demand of the domestic market, the regional market, and international market.
Ghana also on the list
Ethiopian Airlines has already started making arrangements with Ghana as well to provide similar service.
Gebremariam said “We are also in talks with Ghana government to establish Ghana Airways but the biggest market which is Nigeria has been a challenge, to be honest with you.
We make sure that when we start something, we start professionally and make sure that it succeeds.”
He explained that non-African carriers have the biggest share in terms of percentage volume on international routes in African countries, something he hopes changes.
Gebremariam says “So, in a declining trend, there is a possibility that the market share can be zero. So, they will wipe us out.
We have to make sure that we work together with all African countries to ensure that there are strong homegrown indigenous carriers. We have done this with Asky in Togo and we want to do it in Nigeria.”
Failure to launch
Last year Nigeria’s government suspended plans to launch a new national airline – Nigeria Air. The new airline was due to start operations in December of 2018.
The country’s Minister of State for Aviation at the time unveiled the new airlines’ name and logo at an airshow in London in July of 2018.
But after a cabinet meeting the government took decided to suspend the project.
The government was to invest almost $5m into the new national airline.
The previous national airline for Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria Airways collapsed 14 years.
The Nigerian government would have had a maximum stake of 5% in the airline, according to the Aviation ministry.
Ethiopian Airlines growing strength
Ethiopian Airlines has also signed a shareholding agreement with Zambia to relaunch the southern African country’s flag carrier.
It is Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit. It has been rolling out an ambitious plan of buying shares in other African airlines to rival bigger brands in the Gulf.
The airline is also in talks with Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea to set up national carriers through joint ventures.