The flight tracking website ‘’ has provided the latest updates on the Nigeria Air aircraft. The aircraft has returned to Ethiopia, its original location before being brought to Nigeria.

On Saturday evening, the flight tracker indicated that the plane was en route to Addis Ababa, approaching from the Central African Republic. However, later that evening, the tracker showed a message stating that the flight with callsign ETH8950 was no longer being tracked. The aircraft was either out of coverage or had already landed.

On Sunday morning, the flight tracker displayed that the plane had indeed landed in Ethiopia.

The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had reportedly contacted Ethiopian Airlines to provide an aircraft that could be presented to Nigerians as a Nigeria Air aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines agreed and repainted and rebranded one of its Boeing 737-800 planes.

Investigations have revealed that the Boeing 737-800, with registration number ET-APL, Mode S Q4005C, and serial number 40965/4075, has a complex ownership history.

It was initially operated by Ethiopian Airlines on June 22, 2012, then became part of Malawi Airlines on February 16, 2014, and was later released back to Ethiopian Airlines on August 12, 2015. Although the aircraft underwent a change in appearance, it still belongs to Ethiopian Airlines.

An independent journalist, David Hundeyin, drew attention to the flight tracker on Saturday, suggesting that the freshly commissioned “Nigeria Air” Boeing 737 was heading back to Addis Ababa, where the hurried paint job would be removed and the plane would resume regular service under Ethiopian Airlines.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) issued a statement on Sunday, through their spokesperson Obiora Okonkwo. The statement clarified that the aircraft that landed in Abuja on Friday, May 26, 2023, received a water salute, typically used to commemorate the first flight of an aircraft to an airport.

However, Okonkwo emphasized that this was not Nigeria Air’s first flight into Abuja since the proposed carrier has not yet commenced flight operations.

Nigeria Air has not been issued an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is required to conduct flight operations.Okonkwo highlighted that the aircraft used for the static display in Abuja on Friday belonged to Ethiopian Airlines and operated with an Ethiopian registration number, ET-APL. He emphasized that granting an AOC to Nigeria Air without following the necessary certification process could result in serious consequences.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) considers it a significant violation, and it could lead to Nigeria being blacklisted by aviation safety agencies such as the US FAA and the EASA. This would impact international flights to and from Nigeria and leasing of aircraft by Nigerian airlines.

The AON expressed gratitude to the NCAA for resisting pressure to grant an AOC to Nigeria Air without following due process. They stressed the importance of maintaining safety and integrity in the Nigerian aviation industry to protect investments and the overall economy.

The AON commended the NCAA team led by Musa Nuhu for their dedication to upholding industry standards.

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