Zambia Airways is set to launch on December 1, 2021, backed by a joint venture between Ethiopian Airlines and the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC), a government-owned financial institution based in South Africa.

The venture gives the Zambian national carrier access to $30 million, which has been injected by the shareholders, according to a report from Logistics Update Africa. Ethiopian Airlines will hold a 45% stake in the new carrier while the IDC retains 55%. 

With a fleet of Bombardier Q-400, the carrier plans to expand its domestic network to a number of regional destinations before the end of Q1 2022. Upon the arrival of the aircraft in Lusaka, which was delivered by Ethiopian Airlines Crew, Frank Tayali MP, Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, expressed the Government’s commitment to become an active player in the African skies.

“We accept being a government of a land-locked country, but we won't accept being sky-locked,” said Tayali. 

Zambia Airways will launch with six weekly flights on the domestic route from Lusaka to Ndola and go on to operate five weekly flights to Livingstone. Additional domestic frequencies will launch to Mfuwe and Solwezi, preceding the carrier’s plans to launch to regional destinations, including Johannesburg and Harare.

Not only will the venture reignite Zambian air connectivity, but it also draws Ethiopian Airlines closer to realizing its Vision 2025 multi-hub strategy in Africa. 

The airline’s operations are spread across the continent through the equity stakes it holds in certain airlines. This augments the Ethiopian Airlines connectivity options for both regional and international traffic.

Ethiopian operates in West Africa with a 40% stake in ASKY Airlines. Its 49% stake in Malawi Airlines and in Tchadia Airlines boost its Central and East Africa operations. This included a 99% ownership of Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines and stakes in the national carriers of Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The combined network of these airlines serves South, South-East, Central and West and East Africa.

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

GebreMariam continued: “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 socio-economic integration and tourism industry in Zambia and the region.” 

READ MORE:
 
Termed the “network builder”, the De Havilland Dash 8-400 could be a key to unlocking connectivity for African carriers