Zambia and Ethiopian Airlines have signed an agreement to launch a new national carrier for the southern African country.
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of Zambia will have a 55 percent equity stake in the new airline, with Ethiopian the remaining 45 percent. The new flag carrier will be called Zambia Airways.
The shareholders’ initial investment will be USD$30 million and they plan to have a fleet of 12 aircraft and carry over 1.9 million passengers by 2028.
The airline will launch with domestic and regional routes, expanding services to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia “in the near future.”
“As shareholders, we have a clear sense of the direction we need to take in order to ensure the fortunes and secure growth of the national airline,” IDC said in a statement. “We will instill a performance-driven culture through strong corporate governance structures and make Zambia Airways commercially viable.”
Ethiopian Airlines said the investment is consistent with its African multiple hubs strategy, saying “We believe that African carriers will only get their fair share of the aviation industry and the African market through partnerships with other African carriers.”
Zambia Airways was the country’s flag carrier until it failed and was liquidated in 1995. Privately owned Zambian Airways suspended operations in 2009. Proflight Zambia currently operates a number of domestic routes in Zambia with a fleet of mainly small aircraft.
Ethiopian is the continent’s most profitable airline, operating 108 aircraft to over 100 domestic and international destinations.