Africa's most profitable airline set to acquire Africa's largest private airline

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most profitable airlines in the continent and has won several accolades in the recent past including African Airline of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

Ethiopian Airlines is negotiating with the Nigerian government to take over the bankrupt Arik Air, according to a senior official in Addis Ababa.

The Director of International Service at the Ethiopian Airlines Group, Mr Esayas Weldemariam, on Wednesday revealed they were expanding their presence in West Africa.

“Following the bid opened by the Nigerian government, we are negotiating to secure management contract of Arik Air,” Mr. Esayas said.

Arik Air is one of the largest private airlines in Nigeria and has been serving as the de-facto national carrier for the most populous state in Africa.

Financial troubles however bedeviled the airline and earlier this year the airline failed to service its debts and pay employees’ salaries,  forcing the government to take over the airline.

“Based on the terms and conditions set by the Government of Nigeria, Ethiopian Airlines has submitted its offer to take over the management of Arik Air… We are bidding with other airlines, if we agree on the negotiations, we are ready to go and take over the management,” Mr. Esayas added.

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most profitable airlines in the continent and has won several accolades in the recent past including African Airline of the Year in 2015 and 2016 by the African Aviation.

In 2014 it was ranked the largest in Africa in revenue by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The airline reported a 70 per cent jump in full year 2016 net profit to $265 million boosted by an 18 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the period.

The Addis Ababa flag carrier, which began operations in April 1946 has over the years spread its wings across Africa and currently also manages Asky Airlines in Lome, through a joint ownership with the Togo government, and the Malawian Airlines, also jointly with the government.

The Airline currently has a fleet of 92 aircraft, flying to 104 international 19 local destinations.

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