Ethiopian Airlines has made a bid to take over Nigeria’s biggest airline, Arik Air.
Ethiopian Airline is fully owned by the Ethiopian government.
Esayas WoldeMariam, Ethiopian’s managing director of international services, told CNN that the airline had made an offer, and was just waiting for the response of the government.
“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree. We are capable and desirous of handling the airline,” she said.
WoldeMariam did not specify details of the offer, but added that he expects to face competition for Arik from international airlines.
Recall that in February, Arik Air was taken over by the federal government via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) due to the company’s huge debt profile, which was over N300 billion.
The government immediately dissolved the airline’s management team, and appointed a receiver-manager.
In April, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed that the government was speaking with some investors interested in the airline.
She said: “Most of them are interested in investing in Nigeria and they just want to be sure that the timing is right. Some are looking at buying one of the airlines with AMCON and just waiting to be sure that our policies are right.”
Arik and AMCON are yet to comment on Ethiopian Airlines reported interest.
Arik Air manager, Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, said two weeks ago that the airline was now gaining stability, and has retaken its place as the biggest in western Africa.
“We can now boast of approximately 4,000 passengers daily in our various flight operations,’’ he had said.