MIAMI – Ethiopian Airlines Group (ET) CEO Tewolde GebreMariam recently confirmed previous talks of a partnership with South African Airways (SA). While on hold, such talks confirm rumors of a potential deal between two of the key players in the African aviation industry.

Grounded for over five months, SA, according to a rescue plan, needs to raise R10bn (US$595m). South African Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordham describes ET as “one of many” interested backers. The Department of Public Enterprise has previously announced up to 10 expressions of interest from “private-sector funders, private equity investors and partners.”

Sources describe the backing of ET to the beleaguered South African carrier as likely coming in the form of operational expertise rather than financial backing.

A South African Airlines jet taxis down the runway at Washington/Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / KAREN BLEIER

Continental Leader

ET has a further enhanced its status as a gateway to Africa thanks to a new, recently opened terminal at Bole International Airport (SAA) in Addis Ababa with an emphasis on biosafety.

A partnership between ET and SA could herald an era of recovery for SSA while cementing the leading continental status of ET.

Featured image: Ethiopian Airbus A350. Photo: Clement Alloing.