Mesfin Tasew Clarifies Misconceptions and Highlights Shared Vision for a Robust National Carrier
Mesfin Tasew, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, recently shed light on the carrier’s involvement in the establishment of Nigeria Air, dispelling misconceptions and emphasizing the airline’s commitment to a mutually beneficial partnership with the Nigerian government.
In an exclusive discussion with Nigerian journalists in Addis Ababa, Tasew revealed that Ethiopian Airlines had initially been reluctant to engage in the project but yielded to the Nigerian government’s persistent invitation. He highlighted the long-standing relationship between Ethiopian Airlines and Nigeria, where the airline operates in four cities.
Contrary to speculations, Tasew clarified that Ethiopian Airlines had no intention of setting up an airline in Nigeria independently. Instead, the Nigerian government invited the East African carrier to be a partner in establishing a national carrier, Nigeria Air.
Tasew recounted a significant moment when the leadership of Nigeria Air requested Ethiopian Airlines to bring an aircraft painted with the Nigerian logo for inspection by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. The airline complied, underscoring its commitment to the partnership.
Despite facing challenges, including defamation attempts by some companies and airlines in Nigeria, Ethiopian Airlines considered withdrawing from the project. However, Tasew emphasized that the Nigerian government insisted on continuing the process, recognizing the strategic importance of a national carrier for the country.
As legal proceedings unfolded, Tasew clarified that Ethiopian Airlines is currently awaiting a decision from the court. Despite the uncertainties, the airline remains open to supporting the Nigerian government in establishing the national carrier, pending resolution of the legal matters.
Tasew also addressed misconceptions about Ethiopian Airlines’ intentions, stating unequivocally that the goal is not to harm Nigerian airlines but to contribute to the growth and efficiency of the air transport sector in Nigeria. He emphasized the importance of healthy competition, stating that a strong national carrier would encourage other airlines to enhance their operations and provide better services to the Nigerian public.
The Ethiopian Airlines CEO concluded by expressing the airline’s respect for the Nigerian government’s decision, whether it proceeds with or cancels the Nigeria Air project. Tasew highlighted the potential benefits for Nigerians, including more dependable and affordable air travel, should the national carrier be established.
In the spirit of collaboration, Tasew affirmed that Ethiopian Airlines is prepared to support the Nigerian government’s vision for a robust and reliable national carrier, emphasizing the positive impact such an initiative could have on the aviation landscape in Nigeria.
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