Ethiopian Airlines acquires 45pc stake in Zambian Airways

An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. The airline has acquired a 45 per cent stake in Zambia Airways. FILE PHOTO | NATION  

Ethiopian Airlines has acquired a 45 per cent stake in Zambian Airways that is set to be relaunched after more than two decades.

The Ethiopian flag carrier said it has finalised a shareholders’ agreement with the government of Zambia which will retain a 55 per cent stake.

“As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favour of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world,” said Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group.

The airline, reputed as the largest and most profitable in Africa, plans to set up multiple hubs in southern and central Africa and the Horn.

“The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socio-economic growth of the country and the region,” Mr Tewolde said in a statement on Tuesday.

Regional destinations

He said the airline will initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.

In December, Zambia's Cabinet approved the revival of the national airline at an estimated cost of $30 million.

The airline was liquidated in 1994 after running broke largely due to patronage and abuse by the political establishment.

Ethiopia Airlines which is in talks with Djibouti already runs Togo's Asky Airlines where it holds a 40 per cent stake and Malawian Airlines, formerly Air Malawi, where it has a 49 per cent shareholding.

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