Ethiopian Airlines Considering Investment In Air Zimbabwe

Filed Under: Ethiopian, Other Airlines

This will be an interesting one to watch.

Ethiopian Airlines is almost unarguably Africa’s most successful airline. They’ve built a global route network and have grown profitably and sustainably. This is in stark contrast to many other major airlines in Africa, which are perpetually on the brink of liquidation (like Kenya Airways, South African Airways, etc.).

One of the cool things that Ethiopian Airlines has done is that they’ve invested in some other African airlines and have also created strategic alliances. They act as a great mentor to some other airlines in the region.

There are now rumors that Ethiopian Airlines is considering investing in what’s possibly Africa’s most troubled airline, Air Zimbabwe.

This allegedly came about when Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO contacted Zimbabwe’s president during a recent visit to Addis Ababa.

As Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister explains:

“There is movement on that front and we are expecting a team from Ethiopian Airlines next month where we are going to have meetings with regards to how the deal can be undertaken. We invited them so that we can talk and chart a way forward.”

Now, for those of you not familiar with the recent history of aviation in Zimbabwe, let me briefly summarize:

So yeah, if there’s an airline that has the expertise to turn around aviation in Zimbabwe, it’s Ethiopian Airlines… but even this may prove too much of a challenge for them.

I’ll be curious to see if any sort of a deal is reached. While there’s obviously big potential for aviation in Zimbabwe, I question to what extent Ethiopian Airlines could come in and actually lead the airline without interference.

(Tip of the hat to Chad)

  1. Big mistake Ethiopian. One does not “invest” in Zimbabwe. One has one’s capital extracted and expropriated by ZANU-PF, a criminal organization starving its own people

  2. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ; why on Earth would Ethiopian consider this to be a wise investment?

    @Mjolinor22’s comment is right in the money. If Ethiopian is looking to invest money I suggest they revamp their business class cabin.

  3. I was in Zimbabwe for the first time in January and it is such a gorgeous country. Sadly, Mugabe’s successor is equally corrupt and cruel; disliked and feared by every Zimbabwean I spoke to, leaving me worried about the country’s future.

    Best of luck to Ethiopian; Africa’s airline success story. Some readers may be too young to know that it was TWA that nurtured Ethiopian in the carrier’s early years (beginning in 1945), providing management expertise, maintenance and air crews.

  4. To say there is “no airline and no planes flying” is incorrect. Air Zimbabwe is still flying regionally, on horribly aged 767-200s and 737-200s. They had a new(ish) A320 but no idea what happened to it. Despite the corruption, unreliability, and condition of the aircraft, the service and onboard product is actually not half bad.

  5. Ben, tell everyone about the time you flew with”Gucci Grace” Mugabe in First Class on a Singapore Airlines flight some years ago. Hilarious story about Africa’s most corrupt (former) First Lady.

  6. Please note there is only ONE operational (within limits as noted just recently) aircraft left, a 767-200. One of the two A320s has been parked in Johannesburg (ORT) for years and looks sad, the other one is as much out of service as the above mentioned 737-200, both parked at Harare airport.

  7. @Matt – all of Air Zim’s aircraft are presently grounded. The A320 has been impounded in Johannesburg for some years now due to unpaid maintenance debt.

  8. @John S

    While staying recently at The Saxon Hotel & Spa, in the wealthy Johannesburg suburb of Sandhurst, my driver pointed out Grace Mugabe’s house, several blocks away. It is so enormous I had thought it was another luxury hotel. Grace is South African by birth, but cannot enter her home country because there is a warrant out for her arrest… Corruption on an unimaginable scale.

  9. Ethiopian may be chewing more than they can swallow. They sure look like a success story but with all the investments they’re making in all these troubled airlines all over Africa, they better be careful. They can become the Etihad of Africa.

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