Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier, ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit, is in talks with a number of airline companies across the continent to acquire stakes and manage operations.
Ethiopian Airlines said on Tuesday said it had struck a deal with shareholders of Zambia Airways and had acquired a 45% stake in the firm. It did not disclose how much it had paid for the stake.
State-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994.
The privately-owned Zambian Airways then emerged as the country’s main carrier with flights to other major hubs in southern Africa, but it suspended operations in 2009.
Ethiopian Airlines operates and manages Malawi Airlines through a deal signed in 2013. It also has a deal with ASKY, a West African airline whose shareholders include the ECOWAS regional bloc of countries and a number of banks.
Ethiopian Airlines wants to increase revenue to $10 billion by 2025 and to expand its fleet to 140 aircraft from less than 90 now, with its sights set on Asia.