Ethiopian Bids for Arik, Upgrades Sao Paulo Service

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Demola Ojo 

Africa’s leading airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has said that it has submitted a formal offer to take charge of Nigerian carrier Arik Air, which accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s air passenger traffic, according to CNN.

“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” Esayas WoldeMariam, the airline’s managing director of international services, told CNN. “We are capable and desirous of handling the airline,” he stated.

WoldeMariam did not specify details of the offer, but added that he expected to face competition for Arik from international airlines.

Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest domestic and regional carrier, was taken over by the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) last February, following the airline’s inability to repay a debt exceeding N350 billion to AMCON and other creditors.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s fastest-growing and most profitable carrier. The airline reported a 10 per cent increase in revenue to $2.4 billion for 2015/16, with a 70 per cent rise in profits, while passenger numbers climbed 18 per cent to 7.6 million. The East African airline is pursuing an ambitious expansion programme in its home country, with the $345 million expansion of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport.

Abroad, the airline has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Malawian Airlines and 40 per cent of ASKY Airlines in Togo.

Announce to its valued customers that it has finalized preparations to start nonstop direct services to Sao Paulo, Brazil, currently operated via Lome, Togo, effective September 16.

Sao Paulo, the biggest city in the Brazil and in the southern hemisphere, is the economic and financial hub of the country hosting the headquarters of numerous major corporations.

Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said; “We are delighted to offer our customers a faster and reliable connectivity between Africa, Middle East, Asia and Brazil with one of the shortest total travel time, operated with our state of the art fleet, Boeing 787.”

Ethiopian made its debut flight to Sao Paulo in 2013, coordinating its schedules with its partner airline in West Africa, ASKY, to give short, seamless and convenient connections to West Africa passengers travelling to and from Brazil.