Ethiopian Airlines Acquires Stakes to Revive Zambia Airways
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The Zambian government and Ethiopian Airlines have formalized an agreement to form Zambia Airways.
Zambia’s Industrial Development Corp. (IDC) Group CEO Mateyo Kaluba, and Ethiopian Airlines’ Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam signed documents in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, on Aug. 19 setting out their positions as shareholders of the new national carrier.
The IDC will hold 55% of the carrier’s shares, with Ethiopian Airlines holding 45%. Initial investment in the new national airline will be $30 million.
“Obviously, as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary to support its growth,” the partners said in a statement. They anticipate the new airline will operate 12 aircraft—types are still to be announced—and carry 1.9 million passengers by 2028.
Zambia Airways will launch operations with local and regional routes; long-haul sectors to Asia, Europe and the Middle East will be added later.
Ethiopian Airlines noted the investment in Zambia Airways is consistent with its Vision 2025 Multiple Hubs Strategy in Africa; the Ethiopian flag carrier plans to help set up four airlines on the continent this year.
“As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we believe that African carriers will only get their fair share of the aviation industry and the African market through partnerships with other African carriers,” Ethiopian said.
Increasingly in recent years, African carriers have found airlines from Europe and particularly from the Gulf moving in on their home turf and scooping up passengers for onward travel through their respective hubs.
One non-African carrier, Turkish Airlines, is on record as saying it plans to become the largest airline on the continent.
The IDC said its investment represents a commitment to deepening and strengthening Zambia’s industrialization. It expects establishing Zambia Airways will spur growth in the tourism sector. This, in turn, would have a significant multiplier effect on job creation through businesses in the aviation supply chain, such as hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.
The Zambian government is engaged on a drive to build transportation infrastructure, including new airports and road networks. Together with the new airline, the government said it is confident that Zambia will become Southern Africa’s regional aviation and logistics hub.
“We look forward to growing this partnership from strength to strength and seeing Zambia Airways take to the skies this year,” the IDC said.