Africa's most profitable airline adds Zambia Airways to its growing fold

Under the pact, the Zambian government will be the majority shareholder with a 55 per cent stake.

Ethiopian Airlines has acquired a 45 per cent stake in Zambia Airways that is set to be re-launched after more than two decades.

Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday said it has finalised a shareholders agreement with Zambia in line with its vision of setting up multiple hubs in southern and central Africa and the Horn.

“The [re-]launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socio-economic growth of the country and the region,” said Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group.

The move comes barely months after it acquired Arik Air, one of Nigeria’s largest private airlines.

While most African airlines have flown into turbulence and failed to remained a float, thanks to sound management Ethiopian Airlines has remained afloat and continues to sour high and cementing its legacy as Africa’s most successful airline story.

In the statement, Mr Tewolde said Zambia Airways will serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.

In December, Zambia's Cabinet approved the revival of the national airline at an estimated cost of $30 million.

The airline was liquidated in 1994 after running broke largely due to patronage and abuse by the political establishment.

Ethiopia Airlines currently runs Togo's Asky Airlines where it holds a 40 per cent stake and Malawian Airlines, formerly Air Malawi, where it has a 49 per cent shareholding.

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