After rejecting Ethiopian Airlines as a technical partner in the formation of its national carrier, Nigeria Air, the government has finally chosen the East African carrier as its preferred partner.
In addition, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc has emerged as one of three Nigerian investors in the national carrier, which is set to launch very soon.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, made the announcement at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.
It was also learned that the upcoming airline would begin operations with three wet-leased aircraft from Ethiopian Airlines, but would gradually expand its fleet to around 30 aircraft in the coming months.
Sirika at a media briefing in Abuja said that the Request for Proposal (RFP) under the Public Private Participation (PPP) Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) was completed.
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.
He declared that the consortium had been subject to a due diligence process, after which the contract would be negotiated between the consortium and the government, thereby leading to a Full Business Case.