Africa's largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, and the government of Ghana have signed a strategic partnership agreement to set up a new national carrier in Accra, Ghana.
Ethiopian and the Ghanaian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last December.
The proposed airline will be a home based airline that would be established by Ethiopian Airlines in collaboration with the government of Ghana and the private sector. The government of Ghana and the private sector will have a minimum of 51 percent stake in the proposed airline while Ethiopian will hold up to 49 percent interest in the new national airline.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremriam told The Reporter that the final agreement was signed with the government of Ghana last week. "It is still at an initial stage and we don't have any timeline yet," Tewolde said.
Following the demise of Ghana Airways and Ghana International Airlines the West African economic powerhouse does not have a national airline. In 2016 the government of Ghana invited international airlines who are interested in forging a strategic partnership to establish a home based national carrier in Accra. Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius and indigenous carrier Africa World Air presented their expression of interest to the Ghanaian Ministry of Transport. The Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Aviation and Ghana Airports have been evaluating the proposals. After a yearlong evaluation the Ministry of Transport announced that it has selected Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred airline for the strategic partnership for the establishment of the new national airline of Ghana.
A source close to the project told The Reporter that the start-up airline would be operational at the end of 2019 or early 2020. "The government of Ghana will have a ten percent stake while private investors from Ghana will have a minimum of 41 percent stake in the Joint Venture Company. Investment firms from other West African countries may invest in the new venture. Ethiopian and the government of Ghana will together look for potential investors," he said.
The proposed national airline will operate domestic, regional and international flights. Tewolde told The Reporter that his management is happy that the Ghanaian Government selected Ethiopian as its strategic partner. "We are committed to work together with the Ghanaian government to re-launch the national carrier of Ghana," he said.
Ethiopian had established a regional hub in Lomé, Togo and Lilongwe, Malawi. It has partnered with the governments of Zambia, Chad and Guinea to establish new airlines. Ethiopian Mozambique, a new home-based airline established by Ethiopian in Mozambique, started operation on December 1, 2018.