Ethiopian Airlines becomes preferred bidder for Nigeria Air – Nexus News
As part of preparations to float the proposed national carrier, the Federal Government on Friday unveiled Ethiopian Airline as the accepted bidder.
Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, stated that the national carrier, Nigeria Air will be launched with Boeing 737-800 (NG) aircraft, followed thereafter with B787 aircraft for international operations.
He expressed hope that the airline would be commissioned mid-November after approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Speaking on the status of the airline, the minister said: “The National Carrier, Nigeria Air, is well on its way to being launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
“Nigeria Air will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian airports.
“Other domestic destinations will follow thereafter.”
On how they arrived at the highest bidders, Sirika said: “A bidders’ conference was held online on 28th March, 2022 with over 100 participants. Over 60 parties requested access to the data room. On 10th June 2022 the ministry received on time one closed bid by the Ethiopian Airline Consortium. Few others attempted to submit, but unfortunately could not meet the deadline. Since we did not collect the bids, we are not in a position to say who they are.
“The evaluation Team, 11 Experts from ICRC, FMFB NP, FMA and the TA met on the 20/21st July 2022 and again on 1st August 2022.
“The Ethiopian Airline Consortium bid was formally opened in the presence of a representative of Ethiopian Airlines, checking that all envelopes were closed and sealed at that point, 11am on 20th July, starting with the Technical Bid. The Financial Bid was opened, again under the observation of the Ethiopian representative, on 21st July 2022.
“All 10 forms, as required by the RFP, were evaluated by the team. Unanimously, the assessment team cleared the Technical Bid, which had a total score of 89% out of 100.
“In a further meeting on 1st August, 2022, the team assessed the Financial Bid further and graded it with a score of 15% out of 20.
“The Ethiopian Airline Consortium got a combined score (Technical and Financial Bid) of 86.7%.
“Ethiopian Airline Consortium was declared the Preferred Bidder.
“After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%.
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“The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks.”
On the amount spent so far on the entire process, he said: “The money spent so far for all we have done is less than N400million. The claim that we spent N14billion for the process is not true.
“The money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC and be admitted starting an airline operation, is well within the 5% capital investment of the Federal Government of Nigeria, that will be overall needed to establish the National Carrier initially for the AOC approval and everything else required by stringent national aviation regulations, as prescribed in the FEC approved Outline Business Case (OBC).
“The OBC is the milestone for the preferred Bidder Consortium and has been met by the submitted business plan of the preferred bidder. It is the overall share capital of around 300 Mio USD, provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next four years.
“No further FGN funding will be provided above the 5% share capital of the next national Carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air.”
On the number of aircraft to commence operation, he said: “Three aircraft were searched for by the interim Executive experts and several offers were evaluated, from highly experienced and competent operators.
“The contract was negotiated with three final candidates, and a signature-ready contract has been finalized with Ethiopian Airlines for three Boeing 737-800 with a 16 Business Class and 150 Economy Class configuration.The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements.
“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder.”