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Ethiopian helps bring African airlines back

Ethiopian’s plan is to reverse the tide of non-African airlines’ dominance on the continent.

Zambia Airways, which ceased operations in 1995, is set to be revived in a deal between the Zambian government and one of the continent’s most successful carriers, Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian will have a 45% stake in the joint venture with the remaining majority shareholding taken by the Zambian government. It comes after the agreement in December of a $30 million investment by Zambia in the new airline.

The deal follows others made by Ethiopian, which has a 49% stake in Malawian Airlines and a 40% investment in Togo’s Asky Airlines. It has also attempted to seal a deal to manage Nigeria’s Arik Air, but halted negotiations in late December following “legal and financial complications”.

And in Ghana, Ethiopian has been shortlisted as one of three possible partners – the others being Air Mauritius and Ghana’s own Africa World Airlines – to relaunch its national carrier.

African again
The latest agreement in Zambia is in line with Ethiopian’s Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy, Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines group chief executive, assured.

Ethiopian’s plan is to reverse the tide of non-African airlines’ dominance on the continent. These now carry 80% of the traffic between Africa and the rest of the world, double the proportion of two decades ago, according to Ethiopian.

“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,” GebreMariam said.

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