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Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) chief executive officer Tewolde Gebremariam says RwandAir (WB, Kigali) has chosen the Ethiopian national carrier as its strategic partner.
Speaking to The Reporter, Tewolde said a delegation headed by RwandAir’s maverick CEO John Mirenge had paid a visit to Ethiopian’s headquarters in Addis Ababa to inform them of their decision.
“They told us that they had selected Ethiopian as a strategic partner. They gave us a letter,” he said adding that a formal partnership will likely be signed in the coming months once all details have been resolved.
Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int’l) had previously been touted as a contender but subsequently declined any offer of a potential investment in the airline.
As a strategic partner, Ethiopian will reportedly acquire a 49% stake in state-owned RwandAir and will have a say in the airline’s managerial and boardroom decisions.
The establishment of a Central African hub (in this case in Kigali) is a part of Ethiopian’s Vision 2020 business plan. Thus far, hubs have been developed in West Africa through ASKY Airlines (KP, Lomé) in Lomé and in Southern Africa through Malawian Airlines (3W, Blantyre) in Blantyre.