Management of Ethiopian airlines has demonstrated their commitment to the growth of the Nigerian airline industry, sustaining its operations into the country in good and bad times. The airline which started flying into the country since 1960 said it has maintained its operations into Nigeria, even during the dark days of military dictatorship to its democracy. Speaking during a press briefing at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) in Lagos recently with aviation and tourism journalists, the managing director of Ethiopian Airlines International Services, Mr. Esayas Woldemariam Hailu who was accompanied by the airline general manager Nigeria, Solomon Yadeta stated that the airlines has been dispensing justice in Nigeria by flying into the different geo-political zones in the country. According to Hailu, “Ethiopian Airline has been expanding its root network across the globe, connecting Nigeria to the rest of the world with short connection time and Africa to the world, sustaining operations in its 55 years of dependable and reliable services in good and bad times, serving 1,356 airports and 193 countries. Even before the conceptualisation of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU which later metamorphosed to African Union, Ethiopian Airlines came with the slogan, bringing Africa together.”
Hailu disclosed that 80 percent of African air traffic is lifted by non African Airlines, while African airlines manage to lift just 20 percent of the passengers. He lamented that Aviation in Africa is highly taxed and regulated which calls for the liberalization of the industry. “We have no road or rail that can easily connect the whole continent, so we need to make use of our airspace which is viable and friendly. The secret of striving in aviation business is not about ownership, either public or private, but a matter of diligent management and commitment. Government ownership of airlines is not responsible for the high rate in the dearth of airlines, but a matter of high diligent management. Ethiopian Airlines is 100 percent owned by the government, but is still profitable and soaring higher. Even so many privately owned and managed airlines have come and faded away”, Hailu said. He maintained that Africa, particularly Nigeria has the potential and resources to diligently manage aviation industry; stressing Ethiopian Airlines has shown that government business can really work as what is required to make it work is hard work, commitment and diligent management. While calling on African leaders to liberalise the continent to enable her strive in aviation business, Hailu emphasised that liberalisation of the aviation businesses has made various airlines to survive around the world. He noted that the airline fly into four destinations in the country which include, Lagos, Abuja Kano and Enugu, adding that Ethiopian airline is the Pan African airline that is connecting 49 points in Africa to the rest of the world.
Ethiopian Airline boss said the airline has the youngest fleet in Africa with an average of seven years, was the first to introduce Boeing into Africa with B767, the second country to own a Dreamliner after Japan with the name Africa First, with 425 years of combined aviation experience. The airline is planning to introduce, Nollywood movies on its flight menus, including the introduction of Nigerian foods, exporting of fresh Nigerian foods to East Africa and other areas, contributes to the growth of African’s Gross Domestic Product, being a partner in progress with other African countries, he said. In the area of its social responsibility, Hailu pointed out that a Nigerian is in-charge of its sales operations in the country, while in the four destinations it operate in the country; their local staff are all Nigerians, adding that the cabin crew, pilots and engineers are open to Nigerians. He listed their Core Businesses to include International Services, Regional Services, Cargo Services, MRO Services, Aviation Academy, In-flight Catering Services and Ground Services.
The managing director of Ethiopian Airlines International Services listed their vision 2025 which entails supporting Africa’s growth and bringing it closer to the World to include $10 billion revenue ($2 billion currently),$1 billion profit, more than 100 international and 26 domestic destinations (82 international currently) , 140 aircraft (66 aircraft currently), 18 million passengers (6 million currently), 820,000 tons of cargo (200,000 tons currently), 17,000 employees (currently over 8000). Its overarching strategies for the vision 2025 include fast, profitable and sustainable growth with strong synergy among business units, Cost leadership, Network, New and modern fleet, Labour cost, Operational excellence, 4 Star airline with 5 star service delivery, African flavoured Ethiopian hospitality, Multi-hub in Africa, One brand with multiple products (hub-spoke) while its four Pillars of Vision 2025 for the Fleet include: Current Orders of 33 aircraft, B777s; A350s; B787s; B737s; for the Infrastructure, new cargo terminal: with 1.2 million tons capacity, new MRO hangar and Apron, HRD- Academy expansion: curriculum and in-take, 4,000 trainees annual in-take capacity , systems (ICT, Policies, Procedures and Processes) In the area of social responsibility and its Vision 2025: Support community based programs, Fleet modernization: average age of 7 years, Installation of Winglets: 1st for Africa, using best fuel practice, Member of AirLink – connecting the aviation industry with humanitarian Initiatives. The airline won nine Prestigious Awards in 2013, which include, customer Service Leader”, Service Quality Institute’s Worldwide in Istanbul Turkey in October, 2013. African Airline of the Year at 9th Akwaaba Travel Market in Nigeria at Eko Hotel Convention Centre on 27 October 2013.
Best Cabin Crew in Africa at 9th Akwaaba Travel Market in Nigeria at Eko Hotel Convention Centre on 27 October 2013, 2013 Planet Africa Professional Excellence Award on 2 November 2013 during a ceremony held at the International Centre in Toronto, Canada. The statistics of the airline showed that it was founded 1945 with support of TWA, carried about 6 million passengers , with fleet size 66 aircraft (7 years average age), with its main Hub at Addis Ababa, 2nd Hub at Lome inTogo, Esky airline , 3rd Hub in Malawi – Lilongwe, and are in talks with Congo to establish an airline there, flies into 82 International destinations, 18 domestic destinations, has over 8000 Employees with 100 percent ownership by Ethiopian government , operates weekly flights of + 1330, plus 200 – daily departures and also a Global Star Alliance Member.
For the 2012-13 Performance in profitable and sustainable growth, it recorded Capacity of (ASK): +15percent, Passenger carried: 5.5 million which represents +13percent, available Ton Kilometer (ATK): +13percent, operating revenue of $ 2.1 billion +14percent, Operating Profit of $110 Million +165percent The airline statistics indicated that African Air Traffic is expected to surge as one of the fastest growing in the world. The market developments Airline traffic growth rates from 2011 to 2031 indicated that Asia-Pacific recorded +7.4, North America: +6percent, Europe: +4.8percent, Middle East: +6.9percent, Latin America: +8.3percent, Africa: +6.2percent, with GDP of 6percent for the next decade On the airline’s growing fleet, it has nine – B787-8 (4 on order), 2 – B777-300 ER, 6 – B777-200LR, 10 – B767-300 , 4 – B757-200, 5 – B737-700NG, 10 – B737-800W(4 order), 13 – Q400, 2 – B777F (4 on order), 2 – B757-260F, 2 – MD-11F, 14 – A-350 (order), 4 – 787-800s (order), 4 – B737-800w (order), 2 – B777-300 ER (order).