By Monday Ijeh/Abuja
The Federal Government has faulted the claim by the Ethiopian Airlines’ Chief Executive, Tewolde Gebremariam , that the airline is the favourite to establish and manage the new ‘Nigeria Air’.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, faulted the claim through the Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Mr James Odaudu, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Sirika’s statement was a response to the enquiry by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), to the claim by Gebremariam recently in Addis Ababa.
Sirika said that even if Ethiopian Airlines had tendered an offer to be partner, it is preposterous and misleading for Ethiopian Airlines boss to make such a statement.
According to him, discussions are ongoing with prospective partners and investors ranging from development finance institutions, airlines and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
“And these discussions are not limited to the establishment of a national carrier.
“There are other components of the Aviation Roadmap for which investors are being sought.
“These include the Establishment of an MRO centre, cargo terminals, Concession of airports, establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company etc.
“I don’t know about ET or any other prospective investors being favourites or frontrunners to establish and manage Nigeria Air.
“The Public and prospective partners and investors are hereby assured that the processes for the establishment of the national carrier, and indeed other projects in the roadmap have been guided, and would continue to be guided by the national policy on Public Private Partnership (PPP) and it’s elements of transparency, accountability and the overall public interest,” he said.
Ethiopian Airlines boss last week said his airline is the frontrunner to set up and manage a new national carrier for Nigeria.
GebreMariam was quoted as saying, ET is among a small group with an interest in establishing a national carrier (in Nigeria)…we do not know the results (of the tender), though we are frontrunners.