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In Addis Ababa, President Buhari meets Board Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines, speaks on Nigeria Air

President Muhammadu Buhari

By David Iorja (ABUJA)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Addis Ababa met with Girma Wake, Ethiopian Airlines Board Chairman, during which they exchanged views on the operationalization of Nigeria Air.

Wake had requested a resolution of the legal obstacle halting Nigeria Air, which Ethiopian Airlines has 49% stake, from commencing operations.

He also requested the repatriation of the airline funds trapped in the country over foreign exchange challenges.

On Nigeria Air, President Buhari told the Board Chairman that it was a ‘weighty decision’ by the Nigerian government to re-launch a national carrier, expressing confidence that ‘‘things will be alright.’’

Wake , who met with President Buhari on the margins of the 36th AU Summit, said the airline has been treated very well in Nigeria since it started operations 60 years ago in the country.

‘‘Nigeria is not just a market but a hub for aviation in Africa. Nigeria is a special country and nobody travels more around the globe than Nigerians,’’ he was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Monday by the presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu.

The aviation chief, who was accompanied on the visit by Mesfin Tasswe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines and Daniel Abebe, Group Vice President Strategic Planning and Alliances, hinted that the airline had plans to expand operations in the country, with additional daily flight services to Lagos from Addis Ababa, as well as Abuja-Addis Ababa.

He said the airline and its partners are ready to commence operations on Nigeria Air as soon as all the court matters are resolved.

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Written by Tom Chiahemen

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