ZAMBIA – Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa, has finalized preparations for the launch of Zambia’s National Carrier in a joint venture with Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC).

Ethiopian has 45 percent stake in the joint venture while IDC retains 55 percent, the shareholders have contributed US$30 million in capital towards the establishment of the airline.

The new Zambia Airways (ZN) is to join African sky with its initial domestic flight from Lusaka to Ndola on 1st December 2021 and it will operate at a frequency of six and five times a week to Ndola and Livingstone, respectively.

Other domestic routes to Mfuwe and Solwezi will follow before introducing regional destinations, to Johannesburg and Harare, to its network within the first quarter of 2022.

“The strategic equity partnership in the launching of Zambia’s national carrier is part of our Vision 2025 multiple hub strategy in Africa,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said.

“Ethiopian is committed to its growth plan in collaboration with African carriers and the new Zambia Airways will serve as a strong hub in Central and Southern Africa availing domestic, regional and eventually international air connectivity for passengers and cargo to the major destinations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, which will enhance the socioeconomic integration and tourism industry in Zambia and the region”

Through its multiple hubs strategy in Africa, Ethiopian currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines, Malawian in Lilongwe (Malawi), Tchadia in N’Djamena (Chad) and Ethiopian Mozambique in Maputo (Mozambique) while having the already acquired stakes in Guinea’s and Democratic Republic of Congo’s national carriers.

Ethiopian Airlines had announced earlier this month that it is establishing its presence in more than six African countries through a management role or strategic partnership with the local carriers, making it a dominant player in the continent.

It was expected to launch Air Congo, the latest in the string of airlines where it is acquiring stakes as African countries move to revive their ailing national carriers. Ethiopian Airlines will operate both the medium and long haul fleet in DRC, which will comprise De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s, Boeing 737s and two 787s.

Ethiopian Airlines also plans to restart operations of the Mozambique carrier after terminating the services in May on the back of Covid-19 that impacted negatively the aviation sector.

Ethiopian Airlines has strategic partnerships with ASKY in Togo, Malawian Airlines and Chad-based Tchadia Airlines. It also has a management contract with Ceiba Intercontinental in Equatorial Guinea.

Ethiopian Airlines, which is also keen on setting up an airline in Nigeria, had started talks to help in the revival of South Africa Airways but was not selected by the carrier.

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