Ethiopian AIRLINES has announced that it is now the strategic partner of Air Malawi after acquiring 49 percent equity in the latter.
The remaining 51 percent is held by the Malawian government and Malawian private investors.
The shareholder agreement for Air Malawi was signed in Lilongwe on Thursday last week by Malawian Deputy Finance Minister Dr Cornelius Mwalwanda and Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Mr Ato Tewolde Gebremariam.
Mr Gebremariam said the new partnership with Air Malawi is part of Ethiopian Vision 2025 – a strategic roadmap of setting up multiple hubs in Africa.
Through this strategic partnership with Air Malawi, he said Lilongwe will become Ethiopian third hub on the continent after its main hub in Addis Ababa and in Lome, West Africa.
“This new agreement we have just signed with the government of Malawi is a model for the type of African co-operation that is needed in the 21st century. It is a win-win partnership aimed at enabling the success of African aviation in a capital-intensive, skill-driven and highly competitive industry.
“Today, Africa is booming and, with the economic growth of our continent, demand for air travel is also growing at a much faster pace than the global average,” he said.
The growing demand and the uneven competition from foreign carriers, which currently dominate the African market, he added cannot be overcome by one single African airline.
“For indigenous African airlines to succeed and get their fare share of the market, partnerships between African airlines are a must. Ethiopian Airlines is first and foremost a pan-African airline, which has been serving Africa in good and bad times for close to seven decades bringing Africa together and closer to the world. It is with a win-win and pan-African spirit that we have entered into a strategic partnership with Malawi Airlines.
Through this strategic partnership, Ethiopian and the newly formed Malawi Airlines will harmonise their flight schedules so as to provide seamless and best connectivity options for travellers within, to and from the Southern Africa region. The establishment of multiple hubs in Africa is an overarching strategy of our Vision 2025,” he said.
Ethiopian Airlines has participated in the establishment of a regional airline in West Africa, ASKY, which has been quite successful. “I am confident that our new partnership with Malawi Airlines will also be successful and will greatly benefit the travelling public in the Southern Africa region,” he said.
As per its Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines aims to set up hubs in all regions of the continent and to become the leading aviation group in Africa generating US$10 billion in annual revenue by 2025.