Ethiopian Airlines announced on Tuesday that it it had signed an agreement with the Zambian government to acquire 45 percent of Zambia Airways.

The airlines will also relaunch the southern African country’s national carrier, which was shut down more than two decades ago.

State-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994

In a statement by Ethiopian airlines, “Zambia Airways will initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights,”

“As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favour of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world,” said Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group.

In December, Zambia’s Cabinet approved the revival of the national airline at an estimated cost of $30 million.

Ethiopia Airlines which is in talks with Djibouti already runs Togo’s Asky Airlines where it holds a 40 per cent stake and Malawian Airlines, formerly Air Malawi, where it has a 49 per cent shareholding.