Ethiopian eyes Air Malawi stake



Ethiopian Airlines has reportedly expressed their interest to make a bid for Air Malawi, which according to a periodic aviation source in Johannesburg has been put back on the market by their government, which plans to sell up to 49 percent to a strategic investor. A number of other airlines have expressed interest already in putting in an offer, but Ethiopian, a continental aviation giant, could be a preferred choice for Malawi for their expertise and track record in Africa.

Ethiopian already has a significant shareholding and management rights in West African airline ASKY which is based in Lome / Togo and serves a number of destinations, feeding and de-feeding into Ethiopian Airlines flights to Addis Ababa and beyond. Should ET’s bid for Air Malawi be accepted ASKY could serve as a model of how best to develop the airline into a regional carrier using Lilongwe and Blantrye as their home bases.

The bid could also set a new trend for Ethiopian to grow further on the continent through such strategic partnerships and it will be interesting to see what other such opportunities the Ethiopian national airline might jump on should countries with a history of financially troubled national airlines opt for privatization. It also remains to be seen how other African aviation heavyweights like Kenya Airways, South African and Egypt Air – the latter two incidentally Star Alliance partners of Ethiopian Airlines – will react to such a new strategy, so watch this space for future news.