By Solomon Asowata
Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines says it is ready to offer support for the success of the Nigeria Air project, if called upon by the Federal Government.
Mr Esayas Haliu, Managing Director, Ethiopian International Services, gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the federal government had allocated N49 billion for the setting up of the new national carrier in the 2019 budget, to replace the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Haliu said Nigeria had the largest population and biggest economy in Africa, and Nigerians were among the most widely traveled persons in the world.
“Nigeria needs a national carrier and we are willing and ready to partner with the government towards its success.
“Ethiopian Airlines is ready to participate in the bid to midwife the new national carrier whenever the vacancy is ready, ” he said.
According to him, the airline, which is already operating into Lagos, Kano, Enugu and Abuja Airports, is planning to increase its frequency to Lagos to two flights daily.
Haliu said Ethiopian Airlines expanded its operations to the four airports to meet the needs of its customers in Nigeria and to reduce the burden on the Lagos Airport.
He said : “It is a good service to them because they don’t have to come to Lagos.
“We operated in Kaduna for three years but decided to suspend our operations for the time being due to lack of traffic as Kaduna is situated between Abuja and Kano. ”
Haliu also disclosed that the airline was planning to connect Lagos across the Atlantic to the United States, but said it was subject to the approval of the Nigerian government.
He said that the airline was cooperating with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to tackle the problem of drug trafficking by passengers.