Zambia Airways is on track to relaunch operations on 24 October 2018, as part of a US$30 million joint venture with Ethiopian Airlines, who will end up owning 45 percent of the new carrier. The government of Zambia will own the remaining 55 percent stake.
The deal is not yet complete, as a shareholder agreement has not been signed with Ethiopian Airlines. As part of the commercial agreement, Ethiopian plans to provide three leased aircraft and a security deposit, totaling $13.5 million, out of the $30 million required capital for the relaunch of Zambian national carrier.
An additional $11 million is expected to be released soon to fund operations, as the new carrier eventually grows its network to over 90 cities worldwide, following the expected signing of new Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements.
Ahead of the launch, local expects are calling for a feasibility study surrounding the deal, to ensure the Zambian government has the long-term financial resources, and to protect the local market from monopolization by Ethiopian.
“There is a risk that Ethiopian Airlines might use its links with Zambia to foment a dominant position against our competitors, who are bringing traffic into Zambia,” said John Kasanga, a consultant.