Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has finalized shareholders agreement with the Zambian government for the re-launch of Zambia Airways.
In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said the Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will have 45% stakes in the airline.
It did not disclose how much it had paid for the stake.
Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, “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.”
He said, “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.”
The airline is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.
The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will hold 45% in the airline.
Ethiopia Airlines is 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.
Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994.
The privately-owned Zambian Airways then emerged as the country’s main carrier with flights to other major hubs in southern Africa, but it suspended operations in 2009.
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 54.5 billion birr ($2.43 billion) in the 2015/16 fiscal year, while passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million.
Net profit was up 70 percent at 6 billion birr.
Ethiopian Airlines wants to increase revenue to $10 billion by 2025 and to expand its fleet to 140 aircraft from less than 90 now, with its sights set on Asia.