Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has disclosed that Ethiopian Airlines (ET) consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air, owning 49 per cent of the national carrier, stating that domestic investors own 46 per cent stake.
He disclosed this during a media briefing on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, ET scored 89 per cent out of 100 in the technical bidding process and 15 out of 20 as regards financial bids.
He explained that the request for proposal (RFP) under the public-private partnership (PPP) Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC), has been completed.
“After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors.
“The Nigerian investors are MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%. The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process.
“The contract will be negotiated between consortium and FGN, leading to a full business case (FBC) which will be expected to be approved by the federal executive council (FEC). We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks.”
The minister said the national carrier would launch with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
According to him, Nigeria Air will be launched with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between the two major airports.
The minister added that other domestic destinations would follow later.
“The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements.
“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder. The interim executive team has prepared with the support of FAAN.
“The team has arranged for Terminal C at the Abuja Airport and finalised a contract with MMA 2 terminal in Lagos for the operation of an initial shuttle between Lagos and Abuja,” he said.
He noted that the Operations Control Centre (OCC) at the Abuja Airport would act as the headquarters of the airline.