Ethiopia Airlines: Setting the Pace in Africa
Ethiopia Airlines has shown by its success that airlines can operate profitably in Africa. It has become the yardstick to judge and motivate emerging airlines in the continent.
The Group Managing Director of the airline, Tewolde GebreMariam, had told journalists in Addis Ababa that discipline, professionalism and respect for its customers are behind the success of Africa’s foremost carrier.
Industry experts describe the airline as resilient, which explains why it persevered when other government owned carriers in the region went under.
Today the airline is the only African carrier that has spread its tentacles across the African continent, connecting destinations in the region, which in the past travellers would have to travel to Europe before connecting back to Africa. So the airline lives to its belief as pan African airline because its takes African travellers to major destinations in the world across the five continents with its partners.
There are key factors that have made Ethiopia Airlines a success in Africa and in the world. One is its Aviation Training Centre where every year trainees are graduated and absorbed into the airline.
One can appreciate the importance of this school when one considers the fact that today Nigerian airlines spend whooping sum of money in foreign currency on simulator training overseas for its pilots. Nigerian airlines could save about N500 million annually as funds deployed for overseas training.
The training centre has blossomed to cater for African aviators because many countries in the continent and beyond take their students to the school to be trained as engineers, pilots, cabin crew, air traffic control and others.
The Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy (EAA) is an IATA Regional Training Partner, ICAO designated Regional Training Center of Excellence, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved Maintenance Training Organisation, Authorized Training Center (ATC) and Accredited Training School (ATS) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Approved Training Organization (ATO) by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
The academy provides comprehensive aviation related training in the area of pilot, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew, airline sales and marketing, and ground operations on basic and recurrent basis.
Another factor that contributes to the airline’s success is its connectivity. In fulfilling its motto of bringing Africa together and beyond, Ethiopian Airline has been creating air connectivity across the continent. The airline has remained steadfast, serving African countries both in the time of adversity and in the time of peace and progress. So it has become a reliable airline in Africa.
For example, when the Nigerian economy was hit by recession in 2016 to 2017, some foreign carriers left the country; some cut back on their operations and some insisted that travellers must pay for their fares in foreign currency, but Ethiopia Airlines remained with Nigeria. It was same when the federal government closed the runway of the Abuja airport for rehabilitation and Kaduna was chosen as alternative airport. It was only Ethiopia among foreign carriers that operated to Kaduna airport and it was the first to re-open the Abuja airport after its rehabilitation.
Another factor that has enhanced the airline’s success is its modern fleet.
On June 5, 2018, Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-900, the first for an African airline to operate 100 aircraft fleet in the history of the continent, thus maintaining its pioneering aviation technology leadership role and ascertaining its leadership position in all aspects of aviation services in the continent.
The airline now operates one of the youngest and most modern 100 aircraft, with an average age of less than five years. The airline said its fleet modernization and expansion is one of the four critical pillars of its Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, in support of its fast expanding network, which has now reached over 110 international destinations covering five continents.
According to the most profitable airline in the continent, its new and cutting-edge fleet composed of B787s and A350s offer unparalleled on-board comfort to its customers and offer the best possible connections when traveling within Africa and between the continent and the rest of the world.
“Ethiopian Airline is at the forefront of the efforts for the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, which aims to liberalise Africa’s skies and unleash the industry’s growth potentials.
“Its contribution to the growth of aviation technology in Africa is evident in the introduction of its first jet service in the continent, the first African B767, the first African B777-200LR in 2010 and the first African and second only to Japan B787 Dreamliner in 2012. It was also the first in Africa to acquire Airbus A350 XWB,” said Ethiopia Airlines GMD, GebreMariam.
The airline recently unveiled its new, modern terminal in its Addis Ababa hub, thus creating a more conducive environment for its ever-growing customers.