Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Backs New Airline

By Nick Hedley

Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund is part of a consortium that will launch a new airline in Africa’s biggest economy.

Nigeria Air will initially offer a shuttle service between the cities of Abuja and Lagos, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said in a statement published on the website of state-owned broadcaster Voice of Nigeria. It will use three Boeing 737-800 jets.

The announcement comes nearly two decades after the failure of Nigeria Airways, in 2004.

The consortium behind the new airline is led by Ethiopian Airlines, which will hold a 49% stake. The Nigerian government will have a 5% stake, while a group including oil company MRS, the Skyway Aviation Handling Company, and the Nigerian sovereign wealth fund will own the remaining 46%.

Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund is managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, which has about $2.9 billion in assets under management.

Following a due diligence process, a contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the federal government, Sirika said.

“An interim executive team of highly skilled aviation experts has been working since February 2022 to set up all the necessary regulatory and industry requirements to launch the national carrier,” he said.

The airline could be launched by the end of the year, Sirika said.