Ethiopian Airlines is striving to consolidate on the 20 per cent market share of air traffic in Africa controlled by the region’s airlines by entering into partnership with other airlines in the continent.
With threats from China, which is already looking at Africa as new frontier for air transport and 80 per cent of the market already taken over by European and Middle East carriers in the region, Ethiopia Airlines recently offered its marginal shares to African states.
Ethiopia airlines CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam told AFP that his company had finalised deals to give the airline a 49 per cent stake in the national airlines of Guinea, which recently relaunched after 15 years on the ground and Chad whose airline was grounded in 2012 over serious safety concerns.
It has also finalised a deal to take a 45 percent stake in Zambia Airways, which went under in the nineties, and taken over the management of Equatorial Guinea’s airline which has also battled safety concerns.
Inside sources from the airline indicated that the strategy was to ensure that the 20 per cent of the market share left for African airlines was not eroded.
The African Union hopes to increase the market share of African carriers with Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) treaty, which is open sky for indigenous airlines in the region.
This also explains why the East African carrier expressed interest in partnering with Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, “so that foreign airlines outside Africa will not buy stakes in the airline owned by the most populous country in the continent. That will further shrink the market share of the African market by African airlines.”
Ethiopian Airlines at the weekend confirmed that it had finalised agreements with the government of Chad for the launch of Chad national carrier.
The airline said it has 49 per cent stake in the joint venture while the government of Chad retains 51 percent.
The new Chad national carrier was planned to go into operation October 1, 2018.
Reacting to this new development, the Group CEO said, “The strategic equity partnership in the launching of the new Chad national carrier is part of our Vision 2025 multiple hub strategy in Africa.
“The new Chad national carrier will serve as a strong hub in Central Africa availing domestic, regional and eventually international air connectivity to the major destinations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. I wish to thank His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno, the Government of Chad and the stakeholders in the aviation sector in Chad for their strong support to the project.”
Ethiopia Airlines said through its multiple hubs strategy in Africa, it currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines and Malawian in Lilongwe (Malawi), while having the already acquired stakes in Zambia’s and Guinea’s national carriers and making preparations to launch Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines.