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05 October 2013 Written by 

Ethiopian appoints CEOs for Malawi Airlines, ASKY

The management of Ethiopian Airlines appointed new CEOs for the newly established Malawi Airlines Ltd. and the West African airline, ASKY Airlines, affiliates of Ethiopian.

According to information obtained from Ethiopian, Kassim Geresu, chief financial officer, was appointed as CEO of Malawi Airlines Limited effective September 1 and Yissehak Zewoldi, vice president of alliances and corporate strategy, as CEO ASKY Airlines effective September 1 and Bussera Awel was appointed as chief commercial officer of Ethiopian. Officials of Ethiopian told The Reporter that both Kassim and Yissehak are seasoned senior management team members of Ethiopian.

Ethiopian airlines bought a 49 percent stake on Malawi Airlines, which was established by the Malawi government early this year after liquidating the national flag carrier, Air Malawi, a highly indebted carrier.

ASKY was established by the private sector in West Africa in collaboration with the Ethiopian Airlines in in 2008. ASKY Airlines is a passenger airline which was founded in 2008 by Ethiopian Airlines. The carrier commenced operations in Jan-2010. ASKY Airlines is based at Lomé-Tokoin Airport, Togo, and operates scheduled services to 22 destinations throughout West and Central Africa. ASKY has a fleet of seven aircraft. Ethiopian has established a regional cargo hub in Lomé. 

With six dedicated cargo aircraft Ethiopian operates the largest cargo fleet in Africa. Airline Business annual freight operator survey ranked Ethiopian cargo 49th by tonnage and 43rd by revenue. 

Ethiopian owns a 45 percent stake on ASKY and has a five year management contract. Appointed by Ethiopian and the board of directors of ASKY, Bussera has been serving ASKY as CEO since the airline began operation in 2010. Like any start up airline ASKY was operating with loss in the first two years of operation. Last year the airline came to a break even and this year it is expected to make a profit. “Bussera successfully led the airline to profitability,” a senior official of Ethiopian told The Reporter. Bussera has returned to Addis Ababa to assume his new position.

Across the globe, most airlines are merging and consolidating their operations in a bid to remain in business. British Airways formed an alliance with Spain carrier, Iberia Airlines. Other mergers are Air France/KLM, United Airlines/America Airlines, Delta Air Lines/Northwest, among others.

In Africa, Kenya Airways (KQ) has 49 percent of Precision Air of Tanzania.  KQ has also established a budget airline, Jambo Jet Limited.  Middle East Carriers which are expanding their routes in Africa are also investing in African airlines. The Abu Dhabi based, Etihad, bought stake on Air Seychelles.