Wed, Nov

Domestic Airlines Takes FG To Court

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Airline operators which include Azman, Air Peace, Max Air, Tropbrass Aviation, and United Nigeria as requested the Federal High Court of Nigeria in Lagos to terminate the government's national deal with Ethiopian Airlines. The domestic airlines have filed a suit against the FG seeking among others that the national carrier deal be stopped and the Air Transport License being issued to Nigeria Air by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority be withdrawn, stating that firm which served as Transaction Adviser for the deal was incorporated in March 202. They also demanded an order of N2bn only as damages “for the injury suffered by the Plaintiffs and still suffering as a result of the wrongful exclusion of the Plaintiffs, wrongful action; unlawful bidding and selection processes and their wrongful projection of the plaintiffs as not having properly, rightly and timely bid for the Nigeria Air project.”

Recall that the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, about two months back announced in the nation's capital that Ethiopian Airlines Consortium is the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air. He added that Ethiopian Airlines was the only flight operator that meet all stipulated conditions laid by Nigeria.

Sirika's words “We did not cede Nigeria Air to Ethiopian Airlines. It is the only airline in the world that made $1bn profit even during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the most prosperous, efficient, and leading airline in the African continent and it was the only airline that responded to our request for a partnership to run the airline after many months of advertisement of expression of interest.

“Even after some interested persons asked Nigeria to extend the time of EoI and we did, none of them showed interest. Officials of the Ministry of Aviation led by me personally visited some of the leading airlines across the world and pleaded with them to take up a partnership with Nigeria to set up the airline.

“None of them signified interest except Ethiopian Airlines, which has been allotted 49 percent shares, while Nigerian institutional investors take up 45 percent and the Federal Government will take up only five percent.

“The choice of Ethiopian Airlines is good for Nigeria and it is in line with the African Union Agenda. Our desire is for Africa to come together and lead the African aviation market through our new partnership with Ethiopian Airlines. The partnership will also reduce the cost of operations and airfares for Nigerian and African air travelers as opposed to the current situation.”