Ethiopian Airlines has submitted a formal offer to take charge of Arik Air, which accounts for more than half of Nigerian air passenger traffic, according to official statistics.
“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” Esayas WoldeMariam, Ethiopian’s managing director of international services, told CNN. “We are capable and desirous of handling the airline.”
WoldeMariam did not specify details of the offer, but added that he expects to face competition for Arik from international airlines.
However, Ethiopian Airlines publicist in Nigeria Mr. Ikechi Uko said he doesn’t know about the deal, while the airlines’ Traffic and Sales Manager Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonnen couldn’t not be reached for comments last night.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigerian (AMCON), which took over running of Arik Air in February over debts, was not available for comments too. Its spokesman Mr. Jude Nwauzor neither picked calls nor replied text message to his phone.
CNN reported that Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation did not respond to a request for comment but Godfrey Odudigbo, minister plenipotentiary at the Nigerian embassy in Addis Ababa, said negotiations over Arik could be concluded by the end of the year.
Arik’s Managing Director Captain Roy Ilegbodu reported in August that the company had stabilized under AMCON’s leadership, with services running smoothly and salaries paid.
But the offer from Ethiopian may be attractive for a cash-strapped government struggling through a prolonged recession.