Apart from the legal tussle that has stalled the take-off of the national carrier, Nigeria Air, there is a new hurdle to be crossed as Ethiopian Airlines is insisting on having an Ethiopian as the pioneer Managing Director of the airline.
The Federal Government of Nigeria already appointed Capt. Dapo Olumide as Interim Managing Director.
Daily Trust reports that the fresh condition has complicated the issues surrounding the take-off of the national carrier with a pending suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) yet to be resolved. The domestic airline operators challenged the equity structure of the airline which cedes 49 per cent stake to Ethiopian Airlines with FG having only 5% while the remaining 46% is for Nigerian investors.
Recently, the Ethiopian Airlines told the visiting President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the legal tussle over the airline.
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“But as I am talking to you, the demand by Ethiopian Airlines to appoint the MD is another fresh hurdle for the government to cross,” a source privy to the controversy surrounding the take-off of the national carrier said.
The source said the demand by Ethiopian Airlines to appoint an Ethiopian is in line with its practice with some other national airlines where it has shares in line with its strategic plan to help African countries establish their national airlines.
Daily Trust reports that, for instance, Ethiopians are the Managing Directors of Asky Airlines and Malawi Airlines, two of the African airlines where it has a stake.
When contacted, Dr. James Odaudu, a media aide to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika declined to comment on the issue.