Nigerian Air will begin flight operations by October this year, Mesfin Tasew, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, which owns a 49% stake in the airline, has said.
Tasew revealed in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Friday, that the firm is eager to see Nigeria Air start flying local and international routes.
Ethiopian Airlines in 2022 won the bid to handle operations of the proposed Nigeria Air in controversial circumstances after local players complained the company was handed an advantage during the bidding process.
According to Tasew, the airline will begin operations with two wide-bodied planes and six narrow-bodied aircraft. He said, “We are eager to see the airline start flying and connecting the local market to the international market”
He also added that Ethiopian Airlines using its proven model, the airline has an objective to enable Nigeria to have a flag carrier.
He said, “The prime objective is to enable Nigeria to have an air carrier. Ethiopian Airlines will have a management contract. Effectively, Ethiopian Airlines will manage the airline to be successful.”
Tasew also commented on the difficult business environment in Nigeria but expressed optimism based on the size of the Nigerian economy and the potential inherent in it.
Nigeria Air, unveiled in London in 2018, has been enmeshed in controversies after former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika launched it less than three days before the end of the Buhari administration.
Questions were raised about who owns the aircraft used for the launch before Sirika confirmed it belongs to Ethiopian Airlines.