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VENTURES AFRICA – Nigeria’s debt management firm, AMCON is set to assume control of indigenous airline, Aero Contractors, following its inability to repay enormous debts owed to the asset managers.
Negotiations are reportedly in its final stages, with the Ibru family, owners of the airline, expected to relinquish majority of its stakes to the government, which is billed to launch a national carrier in the coming years.
The government has however dismissed suggestions that the ailing airliner will be flagged as the newly planned national carrier, noting rather that it will be incorporated into the soon-to-be launched airline.
According to a report by ThisDay, more domestic airline will be merged into the planned airline to build a strong local, regional and international brand, ready to compete with leading global operators.
The West African country has also concluded plans for the acquisition of off-the-factory aircraft to complement existing fleet and guarantee excellent service delivery.
“To be publicly owned, the national carrier will be truly our first public airline, with shares acquired by Nigerians, but the government will allow it to fly Nigerian flag and it will enjoy all the advantages of a global airline,” said an inside source at Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation.
Nigeria aims to replicate models currently employed in the US and UK, where national carriers such as British Airways are not controlled by the government but are afforded the benefits of a state-owned airline.