Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) has confirmed that it is in talks to manage Nigeria's Arik Air (W3, Lagos), reports Business Daily.

"Following the bid opened by the Nigerian government, we are negotiating to secure a management contract of Arik Air," said Esayas Weldemariam, Managing Director of International Services at Ethiopian Airlines Group. "Based on the terms and conditions set by the government of Nigeria, Ethiopian Airlines has submitted its offer to take over the management of Arik Air."

Arik Air has been under the control of the Nigerian government through its Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) since February. Ethiopian Airlines has been linked to a potential management takeover of the struggling carrier since then, but this is the first time it has admitted that it is genuinely interested in pursuing a deal.

The founder of Arik Air, Joseph Arumeni-Ikhide, has previously voiced his strong opposition to any takeover of the Nigerian airline by the Ethiopians. However, with mounting debts and a poor outlook, AMCON is keen to pass Arik Air into other hands.