Ethiopian Airlines has said that it has not been contracted to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Canada.
The airline disclosed this amidst controversy over the evacuation of Nigerians in the North American country following the refusal of the Canadian authorities to grant Air Peace designated by the federal government the right to evacuate the stranded Nigerians.
There has been speculations that a special arrangement has been made with Ethiopian Airlines to carry out the evacuation after Air Peace, Nigeria’s biggest carrier was denied the right even when the affected passengers have already paid for the flight.
But Ethiopian Airlines General Manager in Nigeria, Firihewot Mekonnen clarified yesterday that the airline has not been contracted to carry out the evacuation flight.
The airline however confirmed evacuating 187 Canadians stranded in Nigeria on Thursday last week (May 21) from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos on B787 to Addis Ababa onward transfer to Canada.
The GM said Ethiopian Airlines have been operating regular flights between Addis Ababa and Toronto Canada for years. She disclosed in a statement that more Canadians would be evacuated as arrangements is ongoing.
The GM said: “Ethiopian airlines as an airline are ready to operate any flight as an evacuation when requested by the respective government and agencies. As at now, the airline has already operated such flights and is having an ongoing discussion to evacuate Canadians and Canada resident permit holders from Nigeria.
“Ethiopian Airlines are not yet contracted to evacuate Nigerians from Canada. That is the responsibility of the Nigerian Government and its agencies to choose partners for such evacuation.”
Daily Trust reports that there has been outrage and condemnation over the refusal of the Canadian authorities to allow Air Peace to carry out the evacuation flights despite the insistence of the Federal Government.
But sources said Ethiopian Airlines still stands a chance to win the contract since it operates scheduled commercial flights to Toronto Canada.