Ethiopian Airlines and the government of Chad have signed an agreement to launch Chad’s new national carrier on October 1, officials said on Friday, Business Day South Africa has reported.
Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier is in talks with a number of African states to acquire stakes and manage operations, a strategy aimed at gaining a competitive advantage against rivals.
The airline is ranked by the International Air Transport Association as the largest carrier in Africa by revenue and profit, outpacing regional competitors Kenya Airways and SAA.
Chad’s Civil Aviation Authority head Mahamat Adjam said on Friday the new company will be named Tchadia Airlines, with the state owning 51% and Ethiopian Airlines the rest.
“The inaugural flight is planned for October 1 but the first destination has yet to be determined,” he said, adding the carrier will start off with two Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes. The airline “will serve the four main cities in Chad and traffic to neighbouring countries”, Adjam said.
In 2012, Chadian authorities suspended global flights operated by state carrier Toumai Air after an investigation revealed safety problems.