Africa: Ethiopian airline mulls second frequency into Lagos, insists it has capacity to partner Nigeria on national carrier
Ethiopian airline management has said that it plans to introduce a second frequency into Lagos, through the Murtala Muhammed International airport.
It also disclosed that the airline plans to connect the United States of America from Nigeria, all subject to approval by the Nigerian government.
Managing director, Ethiopian Airlines International services, Esayas Woldemariam Hailu, disclosed this while speaking with Nigerian media at the airline’s headquarters in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
While explaining the reason for suspending operations to Kaduna, he said the airline would go back to the route when it is sure that it would be profitable.
“We used to fly to Kaduna for three years but traffic volume has not been forthcoming, we have been developing it at cost and because it is located between Kano and Abuja, and we fly to both places, there is no economic sense, we have to suspend it but when the economics is justified, we are going to go there.
“Our projections for 2019 is that second frequency to Lagos is being planned, there is also a plan to connect Lagos across the Atlantic to the United States, of course, everything is subject to approval of Nigerian government”, he added.
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates into four airports Nigeria, and together with ASKY, it operate over 50 frequencies weekly into Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Hailu has insisted that the airline has all it takes to partner with Nigeria in its plan to establish a national carrier.
He said Ethiopian airline has unfortunately, not been favoured in past bidding but that whenever the need arises, Ethiopian airline capable of partnering with Nigeria in any way.
Hailu, who harped on the need for a national carrier for Nigeria, noted that as the largest economy in Africa, with such huge population, which he described as most precious, the country truly deserves a national carrier.
“There have been attempts to off-load some bids for foreign airlines by Nigerian government , Ethiopian has always been participating in that but so far, we have not been picked but we are able, capable and ready and whenever the vacancy is created, we are ready to come for any partnership.
Secondly, Nigeria has been a very good host and by their volume of the population which is demography dividends, the most precious resource is the human resource, the largest economy, the mobility is very high both domestically and foreign, for that Nigeria really requires a national carrier, we wish them success, if we are required to support, we are ready and willing to do that, any partnership that arises from that is most welcome and we are in expectation of that”, he said.
The Nigerian government had in July 2018, unveiled the name, logo at the Farnborough International Airshow in London, and selected 81 routes for the much awaited national carrier.
But two months after, the Federal Government suspended the project for ‘some strategic reasons’, saying it is still committed to the plan.
by Sade Williams