The Ethiopian Airlines has signed a five-year-long management contract with ASKY, Africa’s newest international airline, that is set to provide an air transport link between West and East Africa.
ASKY Chairman Gervais Koffi Djondo and Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Girma Wake signed the management contract here Friday, setting the pace for the operation of the new airline, registered in Togo. “This is a historic day for us. It is a truly historic day. This agreement demonstrates the importance of Ethiopia as a country in the aviation world and the important role it plays in Africa,” Djondo said after signing the agreement.
The Ethiopian Airlines will provide managers to oversee the running of the new West African Airline, which has been sanctioned by the West African leaders, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Founded by Djondo some three years ago, some of the airline’s major shareholders include, West Africa’s leading bank, EcoBank, ECOWAS Bank of Investment and Development and BOAD, West African Development Bank and it also has some South African shareholders.
ECOWAS heads of state have discussed the proposal and cleared the new airline to link the countries of the region, providing the region with a faster air transport connection.
The Ethiopian Airlines said it would send senior managers to Lome, the Togolese capital, to immediately work on the launch of the new airline. “After a long series of exchanges between the two airlines, we have finally agreed to sign the management contract,” Wake said after signing the agreement.
East African competition not healthy
Wake said the Ethiopian Airlines had been looking for partners across the West African region to make its business a success, noting that the competition amongst the airlines in East Africa was particularly unhealthy for growth.
“Africans cannot grow by killing one another. Africa can only grow if we support one another. The signing of this agreement will obviously be seen as a threat to other smaller airlines but we mean no danger to any airline in Africa,” Wake said.