Nigeria Air: FG may cede fewer positions to Ethiopian Airlines, after Vanguard report

THERE are indications that the federal government may cede fewer top management positions to Ethiopian Airlines in the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, following Vanguard’s report last weekend.

This development might further delay the commencement of the national carrier which was proposed to take off before the end of the year.

Vanguard had reported that the agitations and prophetic projections of Nigerian aviation stakeholders that ET’s involvement in Nigeria’s national carrier portended enslavement are gaining strong grounds, with the ceding of all the commanding positions, including the Chief Executive Officer, Director of Finance, Commercial, and Engineering as well as the key positions of purchasing, cargo sales and quality assurance to ET in a proposed organogram published exclusively on Saturday.

Read Also: SHAME: Nigeria Air may not fly to US, Ethiopian Airline subsumes it

“With these positions, ET will drive the life, growth and progression of Nigeria’s national carrier.

“This travesty is the fact that the Nigerian nation will have no representation at global and regional aviation forums as it will be represented by the ‘ET Nigeria Air’ CEO and Commercial Director.”

However, the development has further troubled the Ministry as an authoritative source had disclosed that the Federal Government would likely press to change that organogram.

The source disclosed that Vanguard’s report ‘opened the eyes’ of the Nigerian authorities who were not well informed on the implications of the proposed organogram by ET which they were going to accept.

ET’s officials arrive today for further deliberations

Meanwhile, officials of ET will arrive Nigeria today to begin further deliberations on the structure of the new Nigeria Air.

Another source told Vanguard that the federal government might press for a review of the organogram, even as they may not question the position of Director of Finance being held by ET as they are the major investors.

He said: “Vanguard’s report has caused some rethinking among the Nigerian authorities who did not know the consequences of not controlling substantial ownership and management in the new Nigeria.

“Ethiopian Airline officials are coming on Tuesday (today) and Nigeria will have to review the organogram, otherwise the Federal Executive Council may not approve the proposal sent in by ET which was going to sail through before now,” one govt source said in Abuja.

Stakeholders react

Experts in the aviation sector have continued to kick against the country’s partnership with ET as key stakeholders.

They alleged that the selection process was not transparent and wondered how only ET appeared as the only bidder for the new carrier.

According to the Principal Partner, Avaero Capital, Sindy Foster, so many things didn’t make any sense about the process.

She said: “Now they are planning to sell the five per cent which the government owns to the public? We do not even know who the current shareholders are and what shares they hold.

“If you hold stakeholder meetings and you withhold key elements of your plans and who your preferred bidder is, is that transparency?

“The airlines have made it clear they do not want ET as the core investor. What’s there not to understand?

“They do not want an airline which is competing without a level playing field. What’s there not to understand?

“There are several areas listed in the business case listing what Nigeria Air will get, which no other airlines have got. It is not a level playing field.

“It is clear that the problem for the indigenous airline has been a ‘one-man-show’ attitude from those who were put in a position to aid them.

“I genuinely feel sorry for Nigerians who have no power over their public servants, to the point where they choose to do whatever they like without thought and consideration of the impact.

“Where is the feasibility study and impact assessment of this scheme? The outcome of this will be the same as all the other schemes which over time people have cried foul over.”

Also, aviation analyst, Olumide Ohunayo, stated:  “Virgin Atlantic offered 10 per cent shares to Nigerians as reciprocity for the investment in Virgin Nigeria, what is ET offering Nigerians and shares in Ethiopia Airlines as reciprocity?

“Why did ET, Eygpt Air, and two local airlines and other investors bid for the Ghanaian national carrier and only ET bidded for Nigeria, despite the huge market and potential?

“Why did the Ghanaian government throw all their bids out and picked the local airline, Ashanti Airline. as the core investor for their carrier?”


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