Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Confusion, official denial trail Ethiopian Airlines buy over of Arik Air

Contrary to the pronouncements of the Managing Director of International Services at Ethiopian Airlines, Esayas Wolde Mariam, on CNN last week Thursday that the company had submitted a formal offer to take over the carrier, the Ministry of Aviation said they were not aware of the development.

Even though Mariam insists that “We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree. We are capable and desirous of handling the airline,” the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), supposedly the recipient of the bid had also distanced self, thus raising issues of trust and confidence on the entire issue.

However, another level of the confusion and official denials raged weekend as an official of the Nigerian embassy in Addis Ababa, Mr. Godfrey Odudigbo revealed that negotiations over Arik could be concluded by the end of the year.

Otherwise, there had been no kind of confirmation from any government agency since the news broke and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had said that he was unaware of Ethiopian Airlines’ bid for Arik’s management.

On the other hand, the Arik’s founder, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, was also quoted to have said the plan by the government to have Ethiopian Airlines manage Arik had failed, and that he would sue the East African airline if it tried to take over Arik.

Business Hilights recalls that the Federal Government, through AMCON, took over the operations of Arik, the nation’s biggest carrier, in February, and appointed Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu as its new manager.

The nonperforming loan (NPL) of about N300bn, made up of about AMCON’s N135bn and those owed aviation fuel suppliers, insurance firms, aircraft maintenance organisations, the Federal Government and the various aviation agencies, as well as food vendors.