Two weeks after the controversial launch of Nigeria Air, Girma Wake – recognised as the “father of the African aviation industry” – resigned his position as Ethiopian Airlines board chair.
The reasons behind the shock departure have not yet been revealed, but it was confirmed that the renowned personality has resigned from his post as board chairman of Ethiopian Airlines.
Ato Girma Wake joined the Ethiopian Airlines board in 2018 and became board chairman in April 2022 when Mesfin Tasew appointed as group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines replacing Tewolde Gebremariam.
Wake has been credited with being the driver that put Ethiopian on the path to become the continents largest carrier and a group that competes with major airlines around the world.
He served as CEO of Ethiopian Airlines from 2004 to January 2011. In total he served the airline for more than 30 years. Wake also served as the board chairman of Rwanda Air and adviser to the Minister of Transport in Rwanda.
He was also adviser to the Togolese President on aviation matters.
Wake who has more than 50 years of experience is an icon in the Africa aviation industry. By some he is referred as the “Father of African Aviation”.
Prior to returning to Africa, Wake had also served Gulf Air and DHL in the Middle East.
Wake has a revered reputation as a “straight talker” and while supportive of governments’ support for the airline business, he strongly opposed government interference in the running of the airlines.
Stakeholders in the aviation sector have expressed concerns over controversies surrounding the acquisition of aircraft used to float the national carrier, Nigeria Air.
BusinessDay’s findings show that the Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation had contacted Ethiopian airlines few days ago, to provide an aircraft that would be presented to Nigerians as an aircraft belonging to Nigeria Air.
Ethiopian airline had obliged by repainting and rebranding one of its Boeing 737-860 Max aircraft.
The aircraft had since returned to Ethiopia after the launch.