Tewolde Gebremariam, the chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, says his company is the frontrunner in the bidding process for the management of Nigeria Air.
Speaking at a news conference in Addis Ababa on Friday, Gebremariam said the group of investors interested in establishing the national carrier is small.
“We are among a small group with an interest in establishing a national carrier (in Nigeria)…we do not know the results (of the tender), though we are frontrunners,” Reuters quoted him to have said.
In July, Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, unveiled the national carrier at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.
At the unveiling, Sirika had said the airline will be managed by private investors with the federal government owning a five per cent stake in the business.
“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in Aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore,” he said.
“This will be a national carrier that is private sector led and driven. It is a business, not a social service. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.
“The Nigerian government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new national carrier. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.”
At present, Ethiopian Airlines has two maintenance contracts with Medview Airline and Arik Air.
Ethiopian Airlines is ranked Africa’s largest by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).