The Federal Government has selected Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium as preferred bidder for Nigeria Air.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known during a media briefing on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, ET scored 89 per cent out of 100 as regards the technical bid and 15 out 20 as regards financial bid.
Sirika explained that the Request For Proposal under the Public-Private Partnership Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission regarding Nigeria Air was now completed.
He said: “After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines Consortium has been selected as preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of three Nigerian investors.
“The Nigerian investors are MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%.
“The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process.
“The contract will be negotiated between consortium and FGN leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“We expect this process to take six to eight weeks.”
The Minister said the national carrier would be launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
According to Sirika, Nigeria Air will be launched with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between the two major Nigerian Airports.
Sirika added that other domestic destinations would follow thereafter.
He said: “The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for the further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements.
“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder.
“The interim executive team has prepared, with the support of FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria).
“The team has arranged for Terminal C at the Abuja Airport and finalised a contract with MMA 2 terminal in Lagos, for the operation of an initial shuttle between Lagos and Abuja.”
Sirika noted that the Operations Control Centre at the Abuja Airport would act as Headquarters of the airline.