Cablegate: Nigeria: From the Ashes of Nigeria Airways

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) LAGOS 1690, (B) LAGOS 1768

1. (U) The liquidation of Nigeria's ailing national
carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited, may at last be moving
forward. According to Bismarck Rewane, Managing
Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, a
leading Lagos-based economic think tank, the Ministry
of Justice has begun making preparations to liquidate
the airline. While Nigeria Airways may survive as a
legal entity for years, the Ministry has declared its
intent to sell the carrier's assets and settle its

2. (U) Rewane tells us a new national carrier will take
Nigeria Airways' place. He expects an established
international airline to hold 30 percent of the new
carrier, with core investors holding 20 percent and
individual shareholders picking up the remaining 50
percent through an initial public offering. As the
largest single shareholder, the international carrier
would control the airline's management.

3. (U) With other members of the technical committee
advising the Ministry of Aviation on the creation of a
new airline, Rewane recommended that the carrier
restrict its operations (both passenger and cargo) to
West Africa and join an international alliance to take
advantage of the routes allocated to Nigeria Airways
under the GON's existing bilateral air services
agreements. Rewane tells us, however, that despite the
committee's recommendations, the new airline may
operate point-to-point services to Dubai, Saudi Arabia,
London, Johannesburg and New York.

4. (U) Comment: If the GON implements the committee's
recommendations - and if reliable international
carriers, core investors and individuals express
interest in holding shares in the new airline - then
the new carrier stands a good chance of getting off the
ground. Of three names under discussion, Nigerian
Eagle Airlines is most popular. Given the airline's
emergence from the ashes of its predecessor, however,
Nigerian Phoenix Airlines might be more appropriate.
End comment.


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