|The Boeing 725 abandoned by its Nigerian owners, has so far only attracted a few individuals at auction and no corporate buyers.|
Ethiopian Airlines, which has been trying to auction a Nigerian aircraft at a threshold bid price of 80,000 Br, requested the High Court to postpone the sale for the third time, after only seven bidders showed up on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.
Back in November 2011, Ethiopian had cancelled the same tender, after a lone bidder appeared before the Federal Court’s Judgement Execution Division. The airline had wanted to see more bidders, but not even the seven who appeared last week were thought to be a sufficient number.
“The company wants to see corporate bidders rather than the individuals that have appeared now,” said an airline official.
The airline got involved in a civil suit at the Federal High Court after its lawyers claimed an unpaid fee (184,218 dollars) for the maintenance of a Boeing aircraft (B725-256) operated by Trans-Saharan Airlines.
A Nigerian domestic airline with its hub in Lagos, the company has been operating with only one aircraft but went out of business after the plane was downed for maintenance and painting.
The aircraft was manufactured in 1974, with a JT8D-9 model engine and was operated by Iberia of Spain before it was acquired by the Nigerian company.
The aircraft landed at Addis Abeba International Airport in December 2003 for maintenance, after the two parties signed a contract for the job. Claiming a breach of contract after default notices, Ethiopian filed a civil suit against Trans-Saharan back in 2007, at the Federal High Court.
In March 2008, Presiding Judge Dereje Eticha ruled against the Nigerian airline, tried in absentia after several notices published in a local newspaper. The airline company was not only absent from the Ethiopian court to defend its interests, it could not be found in a list of 16 currently operational domestic airlines at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
The Judge had ordered the Nigerian airline to pay 184,218.76 dollars at the exchange rate of the day of the payment, with nine per cent interest to be calculated from the day of the suit until the payment day.
Following the ruling, Ethiopian filed a judgement execution through its lawyer, Halleluiah Negash, at the Federal High Court Eighth Civil Bench, in January 2011, to be given the nod to go ahead with the auction. It was Habtamu Worku, the presiding judge at the Eighth Bench, at the time, who had ordered the remains of the plane body to be auctioned off.
Without having seats inside and with a faded outer body, the aircraft has been slowly decomposing inside Bole International Airport. It is unlikely that it will fly again.
“She is never going to fly again,” a pilot who went by the name of Boss Raptor posted on a website dedicated to professional pilots.
Ethiopian knows that the aircraft will sell at a cheap price, it seems, for its starting bid value is less than 100,000 Br. The series of tenders, however, have only managed to attract individual bidders at the Judgment Execution Division, headquartered on Chad Street, near Mexico Square.