A foremost African airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has signed an agreement with Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to invest in the newly established Zambia’s national carrier, Zambia Airways.
The latest development, which would see Zambia Airways take to the skies, came after East African nation had stayed for 24 years without a flag carrier.
The agreement was contained in a joint statement issued on Monday by the Group Chief Executive Officer of IDC, Mateyo Kaluba, and the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Telwolde Gebremariam, after the two parties signed the agreement in Lusaka, Zambian capital.
According to the statement, the national airline project of Zambia would be funded with an initial investment of $30 million with IDC – Zambian government – holding 55 percent equity, while Ethiopian Airlines would hold 45 percent share of the investment in the new venture.
“Obviously as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary for its growth. It is expected that the new airline will operate 12 aircraft and carry over 1.9 million passengers by 2028,” the statement read.
The airline will initially operate routes across Africa, before extending its network to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Ethiopian Airlines noted the investment in Zambia Airways is consistent with its Vision 2025 Multiple Hubs Strategy in Africa.
“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,” it said.
The Ethiopian national carrier, the only consistently profitable carrier in Africa serving about 70 global cities and 60 across Africa from its hub in Addis Ababa with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, plans to set up four airlines on the continent this year.
Presently, the air company which already owns stakes in carriers in Malawi and Togo, is ranked the largest carrier in African continent by revenue and profit, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Last week, the airline said it was one of the airlines being considered to partner with the Federal Government of Nigeria on the country’s newly launched flag carrier, Nigeria Air.
Nigeria is planning to set up a new national carrier about fifteen years after the old Nigeria Airways ceased operations in the country.
In July, the Nigerian government officially unveiled the name and logo of the country’s new carrier at the Farnborough International Public Airshow in London, United Kingdom.
According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the new national airline would be private sector-led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, with the government owning not more than five percent equity and zero interference.