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Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir eye Strategic Partnership

Ethiopian Airlines is negotiating with Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir for a 49% stake in the African airline, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam confirmed.

“Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir are discussing expanding their cooperation. The discussion is still at an early stage and we have not yet progressed to the equity discussion level,” Gebremariam said.

State-owned RwandAir continues to establish its Central Africa hub in the capital Kigali. The carrier is seeking a strategic partner to help boost its competitiveness.

Ethiopian’s interest in RwandAir is part of the carrier’s Vision 2025 business plan; the Star Alliance member has already developed hubs in West Africa by ASKY Airlines in Lomé and in Southern Africa through Malawian Airlines in Lilongwe.

Under Ethiopian’s Vision 2025 strategic plan, it is establishing itself as an aviation group with seven business units’ international airline, regional airline, cargo, MRO, aviation academy, catering services and ground services. Collectively, by 2025, these units should be generating about $10 billion in revenue.

According to its website, RwandAir operates two Boeing 737-700s, two 737-800s, two Bombardier Q400NGs and two CRJ-900NGs. RwandAir has finalized an order for its first wide bodies, an Airbus A330-200 and an A330-300, in September 2015.

By Robert Muriisa.

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