ETHIOPIAN Airlines says it has signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch the southern African country’s national carrier, which was shut down more than two decades ago.
In a statement earlier this month, Ethiopian Airlines said the government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55 percent and Ethiopian will have 45 percent stakes in the airline. It did not disclose how much it had paid for the stake.
Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier, ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit, is in talks with a number of airline companies across the continent to acquire stakes and manage operations.
‘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. 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,’ Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement.
State-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994.
Ethiopian Airlines operates and manages Malawi Airlines through a deal signed in 2013.
It also has a deal with ASKY, a West African airline whose shareholders include the ECOWAS regional bloc of countries and a number of banks.
The airline’s revenue rose 10.3 percent to $2.43bn in the 2015/16 fiscal year, while passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million. Net profit was up 70 percent at nearly $216 million.
Ethiopian Airlines wants to increase revenue to $10bn by 2025 and to expand its fleet to 140 aircraft from less than 90 now, with its sights set on Asia.