Some good news from Ethiopian after their 787 fire. Ethiopian Airlines is determined to stake its claim as Africa’s most significant airline. It announced last week that it has finalised a 49 percent equity shareholding deal in the new Malawian Airlines. 20 percent will be held by the Malawian Government and 31 percent by Malawian private investors.
The Republic of Malawi (known as Nyasaland until 1963) is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on its east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawai. The capital is Lilongwe, Malawi. It is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The country had an airline from 1964 until 2012. Air Malawi, as it was called, struggled financially for most of its history and the government tried to privatize it twice: in 2003 and 2007. December saw the airline move into voluntary liquidation. It laid off 90 per cent of its staff ( 243 employees) on Wednesday, February 13 2013, suspended all remaining operations and returned its single Boeing 737-200.
In May, 2013, the government announced the Ethiopian involvement in a restructured Air Malawi, ahead of two other bidders: South African Airlines and Comair South Africa. Ethiopian pressed the government to rename the carrier to distance it from the failed carrier. The newly branded carrier will recommence operations with a Boeing 737-800 and a Q400. It is expected to have five domestic destinations and fly to Johannesburg: South Africa, Harare: Zimbabwe, Lusaka: Zambia, Dar-es-Salaam: Tanzania and Luanda: Angola.
Ethiopia’s flag carrier is 100 percent owned by the country’s government. It has been continually profitable and highly awarded. In 2010 Ethiopian adopted “Vision 2025”. Under this strategy, the airline plans to increase its fleet to 120, destinations to 90 and passnegre numbers to carrying 18 million passengers. Why this move is significant is that it positions Ethiopian as a pan -African airline. Malawian Airlines will join Ethiopian’s other airline subsidary, Togo based ASKY Airlines which started flying in 2008. Ethipian Airlines will now have three hubs in Africa:
This move locks South African airlines out of expanding in this area and challenges the new pan African carrier Fastjet.