Three investors have now become a part of the $350 million proposed to Nigerian Air; with Ethiopian Airline having 49 percent stake and Nigerian Air having 41 percent stake. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, announced this during the third edition of the PMB Administration 2015-2023 scorecard, which was held in Abuja.
Last month, the minister reiterated the government’s plans to begin the national carrier in December 2022, with 20 aircraft. Sirika said in his presentation that alliance with Ethiopian Airline was in line with the government’s principle of transparency and growing the African market.
Speaking on whether it was the right decision to part with 49 percent of the country’s national airline to a competitor, Sirika said: “Whether it is the right decision, correct, fair, that we are ceding Nigerians Air to Ethiopian Airlines, it’s an unfair comment that we keep seeing coming up.
“Nigeria is one. I’m not making a case for Ethiopian Airlines. It is an African airline; starting point. It has existed for 70 years. They fought wars but the airline was saved. It is the only airline that made profit, even during COVID-19. The airline has, today, in this very harsh environment, declared profit, this year, $1 billion. The airline is a member of Star Alliance. Because they are Africans does not mean they are not good.
“Our thinkers have said we must come together to take charge of our own market. Ninety percent of the airlines doing business in Africa are not Africans. Why? The future and fortunes of Africa must be for Africans…So, we must open up Africa. Which country started this? It was Nigeria.