Africa’s leading airline, Ethiopian Airlines has submitted a formal offer to take charge of troubled carrier Arik Air, which accounts for more than half of Nigerian air passenger traffic, the CNN has reported.
“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, reportedly 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.
It would be recalled 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.
Arik’s Managing Director Captain Roy Ilegbodu had in August said the company had stabilised under AMCON’s leadership, with services running smoothly and salaries paid. It now carries an average of 4,000 passengers daily. It has the largest fleet of 14 aircraft, although according to Ilegbodu 10 of them are operational at any time.
The Arik boss also disclosed a forensic audit of the airliner carried out by the KPMG.
“They have come up with a draft report and within the next few weeks, the final report will be out and will be available to the public,” he had said.
Arik Air suitor, Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s fastest-growing and most profitable carrier.
The airline reported a 10 percent increase in revenue to $2.4 billion for 2015/16, with a 70 percent rise in profits, and passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million.
Ethiopian is pursuing ambitious development at home, with the $345 million expansion of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, and abroad, having acquired a 49 percent stake in Malawian Airlines and 40 percent of ASKY Airlines in Togo.