The federal government has finally picked the East African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines as its preferred technical partner in the formation of its national carrier, Nigeria Air.
The Minister of Aviation Sen. Hadi Sirika, made the announcement in Abuja at a media briefing.
It was also gathered that the impending airline would be launched with three wet-leased aircraft from Ethiopian Airlines, but would expand the fleet in the coming months to about 30 aircraft.
Sirika said that the Request for Proposal (RFP) under the Public Private Participation (PPP) Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) was completed.
The minister added that Nigeria Air 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. Other domestic destinations will follow thereafter.
According to him, before the choice of the preferred bidder, the “consortium had been subjected to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be renegotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He insisted that Ethiopian Airlines was selected as a preferred bidder by the government after a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, which also offered an owner consortium of three Nigerian investors MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46 per cent), Federal Government owning 5 per cent and Ethiopian with 49 per cent.