Ethiopian Airlines Blazes African Trail

 - May 28, 2012, 10:35 AM
Ethiopian Airlines now flies 48 aircraft to 83 destinations from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

For Ethiopian Airlines, winning a reputation as a world-class airline hasn’t come easy in a continent not known for its commitment to service or stellar safety record. Seemingly against all odds, it has managed to do just that, all the while expanding its fleet to 48 aircraft and its route network to 83 international and domestic destinations. With 43 airplanes on firm order, Ethiopian Airlines has laid a foundation that might indeed make it the continent’s flag carrier to watch in the next decade.

CEO Tewolde GebreMariam eyes the Brazil-China axis as a seam of emerging market growth that will serve the airline well. “If you draw a line between China, India, Africa and Brazil, and you are located in the middle of that, these are the regions that [enjoy] really fast GDP growth as emerging markets,” he said. “We are looking for fast growth in the BRIC region.”

GebreMariam holds no illusions about the difficulties facing his airline in today’s environment, however. “I think one of the most difficult challenges we are facing…is profitability,” he said. “On the supply side, the oil price is going up and staying at its highest level for a long period of time. On the demand side, we have excess capacity. It’s very common now to see…airlines flying to destinations in half-empty airplanes.”

Still, the airline’s fleet has grown to become the envy of its neighbors. It recently took delivery of five Boeing 777-200LRs, and it holds orders for 12 Airbus A350-900s and 10 Boeing 787s, putting it well ahead of several “developed world” players. “We are expecting two of the 10 Dreamliners to be delivered before the end of 2012; five of them will be delivered [by] the end of 2013,” said GebreMariam.

Founded in 1945, the airline is 100-percent government-owned and based at Bole International Airport in the capital, Addis Ababa. It serves 66 international destinations, 41 of them in Africa, seven in Europe and 17 in the Middle East and Asia. Washington D.C. accounts for its sole Americas destination. The airline also operates a 24-route cargo network.

Meanwhile, with eight Boeing 737-800s and five Bombardier Q400s on order, and five 737-700NGs, six 737-800s and eight Bombardier Q400s already in the fleet, domestic and regional business stands as a growing priority. “There are 18 airports in Ethiopia, 14 of them asphalt,” said GebreMariam. “We have plans to link regional capitals with neighboring countries like Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti.” 

 

Comments

Mesfin Kassa's picture

I am eager to see Ethiopian Airlines as the African continents's Flag carrer with the way it is expanding.
Emporor Haileselassie had a dream to make Ethiopia the symbol of African Independence so does Ethiopian Airlines.
I believe the CEO has a lot to during this difficult period for Airlines and I would like to see it fly to canada from where the Bombardier air lines are purchased.
All the best.
Mesfin A kassa.

Alem's picture

Ethiopian Airlines played a vital role by staying a proud of Africans and many developing countries in the Globe. Its success goes over a couple of years continuosly.

Even in this difficult period of time the world Aviation sector faced in, Ethiopian is embarking in to the profit margin and has made a series of purchase for the latest fleets... Hopefully, the management of the Airline and its employess will give their best to maintain the profit momentum and of its growth..

It is indeed a benchmark for other sectors in Ethiopia and also beyond, whether they are private-ownend or public Enterprises.. so that, they could bring sucess in their endeavour!!!

Viva Ethiopian and keep walking,, - flying in your case!!!!

God bless you

Aschalew G. Nigussie's picture

I am proud of the Ethiopian success in the field of aviation. It is growing in size, profit and quality service delivery.

I am wondering if our achievement in the aviation sector can be replicated in other sectors as well. Producing educated mass (not just graduates from universities without libraries, labs and professors), level playing field for business for all Ethiopians (not just for the few!), efficient tax code and customs procedure, transparent government where every Ethiopian has the benefit of being Ethiopian citizen, national military composed of all ethnic Ethiopians accountable to the nation and independent of any political party, a parliament with sane politicians who can voice for the voiceless and debate without fear and without subordinating their duty to their personal interest, independent judiciary, a law enforcement with minimal corruption, etc.

Long live ETHIOPIA

Mariam's picture

Ethiopian Airlines was supported by TWA when it started and it is model company as far as Ethiopians taking charge of every aspect of the company from Aviation Training, to Engineering. This was indeed the dream of the Emperor Haile Sellassie, to relieve Ethiopia from poverty. I hope many more corporations can replicate the model of excellence and self sufficiency. Africa is still burdened by its negative image and Ethiopian Airlines continues to demonstrate Ethiopian Exceptionalism.

Goorsha's picture

Ethiopian Airlines (ETA) is really doing great things. We are all proud of ETA.

The company could really make so much money and increase investor value if it get listed on the New York Stock Market.

ETA Management should seriously consider getting listed on the NYSE.

I will surely buy ET's stocks. Getting listed will allow Ethiopians to get a share or two of this great national company.

May God bless Ethiopia!!!

MIretab's picture

I think the patriotism of our ancestors is highly reflecting on Ethiopian by it's dedicated employees .

Long live to Ethiopian!

aytal's picture

During the monarchy or DERG system, EAL was not affected by politics and competence was the measurement. Unfortunately in fascist Meles Ethiopia like Hitler´s Deutsche über alles - Tigrians first and foremost policy and not competence, Ethiopian airlines will endanger not only its reputation but also the safety of its passengers. Please say no to fascist Meles state terrorism and his ethnic politics in Ethiopia. http://www.ethiomedia.com/2012_report/3847.html http://www.ethiomedia.com/2012_report/3814.html

Getachew's picture

I am proud of Ethiopian Airlines in many ways. Adding more flights and new routes are all a plus and makes the airlines profitable among other major airlines. The airlines must focus in area of safety, employee’s relations and customer service too. I see a big weakness in the area of customer service and employee relations. If the Airlines management ignored this area it easily will lose many customers for Lufthansa, KLM and emirates in the next 20 years. The airline biggest asset is not the airplane but its employees and keeps them is the key for its growth. Ethiopian airlines lost highly qualified pilots, mechanics and other key team member for many African countries, and this is a major blow for the airlines. If you don’t fix your problem now someone will take care of your customers tomorrow. Purchasing the latest dream liners or equipment alone does not make you profitable. If Ethiopian airlines management has a vision to grow I encourage them to focus how to keep the best of the best employees, and pay them competitive salary too. Second, improve your relationship with your loyal customers too. I don’t think EAL is focusing on customer service at all. “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. “Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

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BERHANU TESSEMA's picture

Thanks for carrying such interesting article.I hope ETHIOPIAN is in the right way of success as the country does it in its development programme.

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