Inside Ethiopian Airlines’ plan to dominate African skies

Inside Ethiopian Airlines’ plan to dominate African skies

An Ethiopian Airlines plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG Ethiopian Airlines 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.

The move is set to give East African carriers such as Kenya Airways a run for their money.

Kenya Airways will particularly feel the pinch as increased competition will likely make it harder for the national carrier, which is in a deep financial mess, to fly back to profit territory, not to mention its goal of reclaiming its lost glory as the “Pride of Africa”.

Next month, the Ethiopian carrier is 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.

The Addis-based carrier is also involved in starting of a new airline in Zambia, which is expected to be up and running next month. Ethiopia will hold a 49 percent stake while Zambia will have a controlling stake of 51 percent.

“We just signed an agreement with the government of DRC, which owns 51 percent of the airline and 49 percent is with us,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s chief executive officer in an interview with an aviation online magazine.

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

However, the airline signed an interline agreement with Johannesburg-based Airlink. The Ethiopian Airlines says that its contract with Airlink will allow passengers seamless travel on a single ticket on any of the two carrier’s networks.DRC, which has for years been underserved by airlines, has recently recorded an increase in the number of carriers that have launched flights on the route.For instance, budget carrier Jambojet recently introduced flights to Goma to capitalise on high demand for air travel between Kenya […]

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