ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines and the Government of Chad have signed an agreement to launch the new national airline of Chad on 1 October, officials said Friday.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrives on March 8, 2017 in Kaduna, Nigeria. REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde
Ethiopia's national flagship is in talks with a number of African states to acquire interests and manage activities – a strategy aimed at gaining a competitive advantage over rivals such as those in the Gulf.
The airline has been ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit, faster than the regional competitors Kenya Airways and South African Airways.
On Friday, the head of Chad's Civil Aviation Authority Mahamat Adjam told Reuters that the new company & # 39; Tchadia Airlines & # 39; will be called, with the government for 51 percent and Ethiopian Airlines the rest.
"The inaugural flight is planned for October 1, but the first destination has yet to be determined," he said, adding that the courier would start with a fleet of two Bombardier Q400 turbines.
"It (the airline) will serve the four major cities in Chad and traffic to neighboring countries," said Adjam.
The move will help Chad improve international air connections. In 2012, the Chad authorities suspended the international flights of Toumai Air by air after an investigation had revealed serious safety problems.
The company provides flights to regional destinations, including neighboring countries Cameroon, Gabon and Ivory Coast. It also managed seasonal routes to Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
For Ethiopian Airlines, the partnership is another step in its efforts to cooperate with national airlines across the continent.
The company has had discussions with Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea to set up airlines through joint ventures and is also aiming for a new airline in Mozambique that is fully owned by Mozambique.
Ethiopian Airlines is at the forefront of setting up and managing a new national airline for Nigeria and has signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch the flagship of Zambia for an initial cost of $ 30 million.
Last month, Ethiopian Airlines announced that its net profit in fiscal year 2017/18 rose to $ 233 million from $ 229 million in the previous year.
The operating revenues of the airline increased by 43 percent in the financial year 2017/18 to $ 3.7 billion.
Reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa and Madjiasra Nako in N & # 39; Djamena; Edited by Omar Mohammed and Adrian Croft