Stakeholders reject Ethiopian Airlines’ Plan to Fly Local Routes in Nigeria

Stakeholders of the Aviation industry have rejected the plan by Ethiopian Airlines to set up a domestic carrier in Nigeria, using local investors.

Ethiopian Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde Gebremariam, in an interview in Abuja last Friday, had said the airline was considering establishing a domestic airline in Nigeria.

In reaction to that, the Chairman of Arik Air, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, said Ethiopian Airlines would not allow another airline to establish a domestic carrier in Ethiopia, recalling that an effort made by Arik Air some years ago to operate to Addis Ababa was allegedly frustrated by the airline.

Arumemi-Ikhide who spoke through his aide, Lanre Bamgboshe, said it was embarrassing for Ethiopian Airlines to say that Nigeria does not have a major carrier since the demise of Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), adding that the East African carrier allegedly contributed to the inability of Nigeria to have major airlines.

Industry players who spoke to THISDAY described Ethiopian Airlines’ plan as a strategy to sustain its existence amid challenges in the global air travel market at the expense of Nigeria, thus leading to the continued underdevelopment of Nigerian domestic carriers.

They also said the East African carrier was establishing airlines in many countries in Africa to take over the air traffic market in the continent, a strategy that would not allow countries in such partnership the ability to develop their aviation sector to its full potential.

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