Tuesday, March 19, 2013

■ ZAMBIA: Government finalizing plans for launch of new national carrier - no mention of any possible ET tie up.

ZambiaZambian Minister of Transport and Communication, Christopher Yaluma, says the the Zambian Government has finalised plans to re-establish a national airline with proposals to be tabled before Cabinet and the relevant authorities for approval.

According to Mr Yaluma, Zambia's Government had exhausted all possible means in as far as re-establishing the national airline was concerned with various meetings with various airlines having been held in the interests of charting the way forward.
"We have advanced with our plans to re-establish the national airline and we have exhausted all possible ways, as to whether we go it alone or partner with other airlines and other interested parties but retaining the biggest equity," Mr Yaluma said.

The minister said Government had had several meetings with "a number of airlines and other stakeholders" interested in the re-establishment of the Zambian national airline. Mr Yaluma, however, made no mention of any tie-up with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) as allured to by Ethiopian's CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, who in December last year, said he hoped to have the airline in the skies by late 2013.

In light of Ethiopian Airlines' new 49% stake in Air Malawi, it would not come as any surprise if Zambia has abandoned its plans with Ethiopian Airlines, as a Lusaka hub joined with a Lilongwe/Blantyre hub would likely lead to a conflict of interests on the Malawian and Zambian governments' behalves.