Star Alliance carrier Ethiopian Airlines has finalized a strategic partnership with the Zambian government on the re-launch of Zambia Airways, taking a 45% stake in the airline.
On Jan. 16, Ethiopian announced it had finalized a shareholders’ agreement with the Zambian government, which will retain a controlling 55% shareholding.
Lusaka-based Zambia Airways will become Ethiopian’s strategic partner for Southern Africa, building on its existing regional partnerships with ASKY Airlines in Lomé (Togo) and Malawian Airlines in Lilongwe (Malawi).
Ethiopian Airlines group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the move fits with the airline’s multiple hub approach, which forms part of Ethiopian’s 15-year Vision 2025 strategic plan.
He added that the partnership will improve Zambian connectivity, boosting investment, trade, tourism and socioeconomic growth.
Zambia Airways will initially serve national and regional routes, before expanding to international flights.
“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,” Gebremariam said.
Ethiopian serves more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations using a fleet of Airbus A350s, Boeing 787-8s and -9s, 777-300ER, -200LRs and -200Fs, with Bombardier Q400s on its regional routes.