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Ethiopian Airlines says negotiating to take over Arik Air

Africa’s largest and most profitable airline says it is negotiating to take over management of West Africa’s largest airline, the Nigeria-based Arik Air.

Ethiopian Airlines’ head for international services, Esayas Woldemariam, said that the negotiations follow a request by Nigeria’s aviation ministry. Nigeria’s government took over Arik Air early this year after it declared heavy losses.

“We definitely are willing and able to take over the management of Arik Air,” Esayas said on Wednesday.

Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa’s largest airlines. Taking over Arik Air’s management would give the airline a major presence in Africa’s most populous nation and one of the continent’s top economies and oil producers.

Latest official figures from Ethiopian Airlines say it generated total revenues of close to $3bn in 2016.

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