Zambia Airways Limited has appointed Ethiopian national Bruk Endeshaw Abebe as the company’s inaugural chief executive officer effective immediately.

In a statement availed by acting chairperson of the board of Zambia Airways Bonaventure Mutale, SC, Thursday, Abebe was appointed as the national carrier’s first chief executive officer following a board meeting.

“The board of directors of Zambia Airways (2014) Limited held their inaugural Board meeting today, 7th February, 2019, where decisions relating to the commencement of the Airline were made including the appointment of Mr. Bruk Endeshaw Abebe, as the chief executive officer of Zambia Airways. Mr. Abebe has 24 years’ experience in the aviation industry and is currently regional director sales and services, southern African region for Ethiopian Airlines,” the statement read.

“Mr Abebe’s appointment was made in accordance with the Shareholders Agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ethiopia Airlines (ET), which provided that the first CEO would be nominated by ET and that IDC would nominate the subsequent CEO. The board also directed the CEO to target commencement of operations of the airline for the third quarter of 2019. The board further reiterated the shareholders’ quest to ensure that the airline operates as a commercial enterprise so as to achieve viability.”

The rest of the details regarding the processes leading to commencement of operations will from time to time be disclosed by the management of the airline, according to the statement.

On August 19, 2018, the IDC and Ethiopian Airlines held a signing ceremony in Lusaka to mark the agreement as shareholders of Zambia Airways.

As strategic partners on the national airline project, IDC will hold a 55 per cent equity in the national carrier, with Ethiopian Airlines holding 45 per cent stake.

In October, 2018, Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba told Parliament that the date for the launch of the much-hyped national airline had been extended to early this year to allow for the certification and registration processes to be completed.

However, the national carrier’s operations are now likely to commence during the third quarter following the appointment of the CEO.