Photograph — Reuters

Ethiopian Airlines has revealed plans to enter a partnership deal with the newly relaunched Nigeria Air. The airline giant which has continued to dominate the aviation industry in Africa revealed that talks are ongoing with the Nigerian government to seal a deal.

The airline CEO, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, and his team held discussions with Nigeria’s aviation minister about the proposal on Wednesday at the Farnborough air show in England. This comes in the wake of the Nigerian government’s plan to revive its own national carrier which suffered a hit about 15 years ago.

The federal government announced that it will launch a national carrier by December 2018, and seek strategic partners to keep it alive through a public/private partnership. This new plan by the airline giant has been identified as a great move to save the new national carrier owing to its large fleet of service aeroplanes.

However, Ethiopian Airlines faces stiff competition with Qatar Airways which is also a potential partner with the Nigerian national carrier. Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s aviation minister reportedly met with the CEO of Qatar Airways, HE Akbar Al-Baker in London in a bid to attract the Middle East carrier to support the country’s national carrier.

Ready, set, fly

With the battle for Africa skies gathering momentum, Ethiopian Airlines continues to lead the race with its expansionist strategies. The national carrier has proved to outwit rivals like South African Airways and Kenya Airways Plc, having recorded trips to over 110 international destinations and also covered 5 continents in the process.

For over seven decades, The East African carrier has recorded great successes by expanding its commercial activities on a yearly basis. This has placed the airline alongside Qatar Airways, Egypt Air, British Airways, and other big carriers around the globe.

The carrier which is relentless in the bid to become colossus among contemporary national carriers marked its acquisition of 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-900 in May 2018. It also has stakes in Togolese Asky Airlines and Malawi Airlines. It has also announced plans to own a stake in Eritrea Airlines which resumed operation to Addis Ababa after the historic peace pact between both countries. This was revealed through a tweet by the country’s minister for information, Mr Ahmed Shide on his personal twitter hand last week.

The planned partnership with Nigeria Air will see Nigeria added to the list of countries it currently holds a stake in across Africa. These include Zambia, Chad, Mozambique, Guinea and DR Congo. In an interview with Bloomberg, Ethiopian Airline Group CEO Mr Tewolde said the plan is to create more than six international offshoots before the end of the end of the year.

“Ethiopian Airlines agreed in January to take a 45 per cent stake in the new Zambia Airways, with flights likely to start in October and has signed an outline accord to establish new national carrier Chad Airlines with a 49 per cent holding. The company will own all of the planned Ethiopia Mozambique Airlines and 49 percent of Guinea Airlines,” Mr Tewolde said.

Unlike other national carriers, Ethiopian Airlines has survived difficult times and embarked on strategic expansion plans to attain commercial success. With Africa resting on its wings, Ethiopian Airlines is leading the transformation of the continent’s aviation sector.

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