Nigeria’s new national carrier, Nigerian Air, is set to begin operations by October this year, according to the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mesfin Tasew. Ethiopian Airlines owns a 49% stake in the airline.
Tasew said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the airline will start with two wide-bodied planes and six narrow-bodied aircraft. He said that the goal is to “enable Nigeria to have an air carrier” and that Ethiopian Airlines will have a management contract to help the airline be successful.
The launch of Nigerian Air has been controversial. The airline was first unveiled in London in 2018, but it was not until May 2023 that it was officially launched by former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika. Questions were raised about who owns the aircraft used for the launch, before Sirika confirmed that it belongs to Ethiopian Airlines.
Despite the controversy, Tasew expressed optimism about the future of Nigerian Air. He said that the airline has the potential to be successful because of the size of the Nigerian economy.
Here is what you should know
Nigeria has not had a national carrier since 2003, when Nigeria Airways was liquidated. The government has been trying to revive a national carrier for several years, but previous attempts have been unsuccessful.
The launch of Nigerian Air is seen as a major step forward in the government’s efforts to revive the country’s aviation sector. The airline is expected to create jobs and boost economic growth.
It remains to be seen whether Nigerian Air will be successful. However, the involvement of Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa’s leading airlines, gives the new carrier a good chance of success.