Ethiopian Airways has announced that it plans to buy new regional jets in the next month or so as it prepares to relaunch Zambia Airways.
According to Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline has narrowed its choice to Bombardier Inc.’s C Series and Embraer SA’s E2-family E195.
Mr GebreMariam said Boeing Co.’s 737 Max 7 is now out of the running for the contract, which could feature 10 firm orders and the same number of options.
He said there are no more pressing fleet requirements, though the airline could decide to add more Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus SE A350s.
Ethiopian Airlines agreed in January to take a 45 percent stake in the new Zambia Airways, with flights likely to start in October.
Mr. GebreMariam said Zambia Airways is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.
He also revealed that Ethiopian Airways has also signed an outline accord to establish new national carrier Chad Airlines with a 49 percent holding.
The company will also own all of the planned Ethiopia Mozambique Airlines and 49 percent of Guinea Airlines.
This is part of the Airline’s plans to establish half a dozen international offshoots before the end of the year as Africa’s biggest carrier steps up efforts to dominate markets across the continent.
The new initiatives are aimed at consolidating its lead over rivals Kenya Airways Plc and South African Airways.