Established in 1945, the Ethiopia Airlines launched first flight just after a year to Cairo. Asmara, Djibouti, Nairobi, Eden, and Bombay later become Mumbai in India were the next destinations, among others.
In 1960, it became the leading Trans-African Airline. The first aircraft jet imported back then. Ethiopian Airlines has made strides in its recent year performances.
In 2010, the Airlines provided 18 billion Available Seats per Kilometer (ASK) and that rate boosted to 60 billion ASK.
Regarding to freight tonnage capacity, it was 160, 000 in 2010 and reached 432,000 tons, which is an exponential growth, according to Busera Awel, Acting CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
Passenger number was 3.7 million and that figure has reached now 12.1 million, said Busera, who is also Vice President for Strategic Planning and Alliances at Ethiopian Airlines.
In terms of operating revenue, Ethiopian’s $1.5 billion figure has reached now surpassed $4 billion mark.
Regarding the customers’ service, Ethiopian Airlines is four star airlines rated by Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization based in London.
About the numbers of fleets, there were 33 fleets in 2010 and now reached 133 fleets. Destinations number soared to 127 from the previous 64.
Ethiopian has a global network in five continents and a member of Star Alliance, world’s largest global airline alliance.
“We have hubs in African nations. ASKY Airlines in Lomé, Togo is among them,” he said, adding, “ASKY may be the only profitable airlines in Africa next to Ethiopia Airlines”.
“ASKY is Ethiopian Airlines because we manage it in a joint venture basis,” he said.
He went on saying: “ASKY is registering a good performance. We signed agreement with airlines in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, N’Djamena and Lusaka”.
Busera Awel was the first CEO of ASKY Airlines that served the airlines from 2010 to 2013. Yisihak Zewoldi replaced Busera in September 2013.
To boost the capacity of Ethiopian, five new airports will be built to accommodate local flights, said Mr. Busera.
“The biggest local destination is owned by Ethiopian, even Nigeria and South Africa airlines haven’t that much destinations locally—they have half of our local flights”.
Cargo services is another area the airlines has been making an incredible successes.
Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services is among the largest cargo service provider in the globe with 66 freighter destinations conducted with 9 wide body 777 aircrafts and three 777 freighters.
Ethiopian Airlines management decided to turn to cargo flights to generate income during the Covid-19 crisis. “That decision made Ethiopian Airlines the most profitable at a time of great challenge for the global aviation sector,” Busera highlighted.
Ethiopian has a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) division, which is the largest and oldest MRO center in the continent, with six maintenance hangars that provide services to other airlines and generate income.
With regard to Aviation Academy, Ethiopian Airlines has the oldest and largest in Africa equipping candidates with pilot, cabin crew, ticketing, airport, Cargo services and operations (Marketing and finance) and leadership trainings, with a total intake capacity of 4,000 students at once. A university level under and post-graduate programs has been approved to the academy.
Catering and hotel services
Ethiopian has a catering service provider producing 100,000 meals in a day in the near future but currently producing 50,000 meals in a day.
Ethiopian Skylight Hotel has 373 comfortably modern rooms and suites spread over seven different room types.
Second phase of the hotel is under construction, which will have 637 rooms that will boost its number to over 1000 rooms.
“We have to develop conference tourism in Africa,” Busera told journalists in a presser last week.
“Ethiopian will have 28 airport infrastructures in the next few years,” he said. From among 22 destinations, 3 of them are international and constructions of five airports have been launched.
Northern American Airlines lost $5.5 billion, Latin America Airlines $5.6 billion, Asia-pacific $11.2 billion, European Carrier loss amounted $20.9 billion, Middle East Carrier loss amount $6.8 billion, African carriers $1.9 billion during the initial periods of the pandemic.
As of the end of September 2021, governments’ subsidized airlines with a total of $243 billion to the aviation industry at a global level.
“Unlike the global airlines, Ethiopian has not received any subsidies from the government but it’s profitable,” Busera talks proudly.
Currently, Ethiopian is working on its vision 2035. “By any gauges Ethiopian is the healthiest airlines,” he pointed out.
Vision 2035 would make Ethiopian a $25 billion company with more than 200 aircraft by 2035. Ethiopian currently operates a young fleet of 121 flying to 125 destinations.
Vacant positions will be filled
Ethiopian Airlines has various posts that have to be filled.
“That will be the job of the upcoming CEO, Mr. Mesfin Tassew,” said Girma Wake, Board Chairman and President of Ethiopian Airlines. “The board will look at his recommendation and approve what has to be approved.”
” All acting positions in the airlines will have to be filled and we don’t want any posts to remain in an acting post,” Girma said.
In the meantime, there are people who used to work for the airlines and left their posts either by the disagreement of some kind or told to left by the management to do so.
“At the moment, we have not sought about it. The board is not going to get into this until the CEO comes and looks what is in the airlines but we’ll not force him,” Girma explained.
Local, global conditions as challenges to Ethiopian Airlines
“Our own situations, the sanctions that have been thrown here and there are a challenge,” said Girma.
Following the war between Russia and Ukraine, fuel price has soared to over $120 a barrel. Not only a price hike, but unavailability of fuel in many areas is becoming a problem.
“That’s really going to be a challenge and the management, I am sure is prepared to solve it,” assured Girma.
Many nations supported their airlines following the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
“We’ve no fear that Ethiopian will go down with any of these challenges as the management is able to tackle it,” he said.