Ethiopian Airlines announced that finalizing shareholders agreement with the Government of Zambia for the re-launch of Zambia Airways. The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will have 45% stakes in the airline.
“In line with our Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, we are very happy that the discussions with the Zambian government have been crowned with success,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the traveling 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”.
“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 favor 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,” added Gebremariam.
The revived airline is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights. Ethiopian Airlines is the largest Aviation Group in Africa. The national flag carrier currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines and Malawian in Lilongwe (Malawi).
Zambia Airways was the state-owned flag carrier of the Republic of Zambia. Founded in 1964 as Central African Airways subsidiary, the airline operated for thirty years before going bankrupt in 1994 and finally ceasing operations in 1995. Zambia Airways is not to be confused with Zambian Airways – an unrelated airline, which operated in Zambia between 1948 and 2009.
The deal with Ethiopian Airways comes amid the Zambian government drive of upgrading all its 4 international airports to current international standards to hold larger and more modern aircraft and the other small airports for to service its domestic network.
Competition for the skies in Southern Africa is ramping up and it would not be a surprise to see the likes of Air Zimbabwe lagging behind as as it is struggling, reeling under heavy financial debt. Air Namibia is already breaking new frontiers building a growing network at a steady rate while acquiring new and modern aircraft for its fleet.
On the African aviation perspective this is good news because this enhances cooperation among African airlines that will see real and unbiased development for the continent in general.
AviaConnect (The Flying Man)