The 2013/12/10 at 12:26
When was Ethiopian Airlines set up?
The airline was set up in 1945 at a time when there were still just a few cars in Ethiopia. People were really surprised to see planes in the sky; they called them air trains! At first, it was a partnership with TWA (Trans World Airlines), but today the airline is entirely managed by Ethiopians.
How many people work for the airline? `
Ethiopian Airlines has 6,560 employees. Our strength is largely due to our teams. We have the guarantee that the staff is perfectly qualified, for from pilots to mechanics via the inflight crew, we take care of internal training ourselves.
African airlines don’t have a very good reputation for security …
At Ethiopian Airlines, security is the priority of priorities. Indeed we have a good reputation in this domain. We meet the security criteria established by international regulatory bodies. And on top of this, we have been active in this sector for 60 years. Would we still be here if we didn’t ensure the security of our passengers?
To which destinations do you provide services?
We started off with domestic lines. We offer 47 destinations on the continent including Tanzania (Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar), Kenya, the two Congos, South Africa and 30 destinations outside of Africa. In Europe and the Americas, we offer 11 destinations. In June 2013, we launched our first flights to Latin America (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo). In North America, we have Toronto (Canada) and Washington D.C. Twenty of our destinations are in the Middle East and Asia: we added Seoul and Singapore to our stops in the past year; Manila and Ho Chi Minh City will be joining the list very soon.
What types of passengers travel on Ethiopian Airlines?
Our African passengers are mainly businesspeople, as are those who travel between Africa, Asia and America. Passengers from Europe are more often tourists or persons coming to visit their families. As for France, our objective is to further develop the region’s tourism opportunities. There are few Ethiopians in France and few French people in Ethiopia even though the French Embassy was one of the first to settle in Addis Ababa. So the word needs to be spread that development opportunities in the two countries, on both sides, are enormous!
So the French market is in a development phase as far as the airline is concerned?
Exactly. From Paris, we mainly fly to Eastern Africa via Addis Ababa, which is a seven-hour flight from the French capital. We offer 5 weekly flights in low season, 6 in high season, and are in the process of working on obtaining a seventh weekly flight.
What advantage would a businessperson gain by flying with Ethiopian Airlines rather than another airline?
First of all, we offer clients a modern fleet, Boeing 767s, 777s and recently the 787 that we were the first to introduce to Africa. We are also members of the Star Alliance network, which enables us to multiply our destination offer. Ethiopian Airlines frequent flyers benefit from the loyalty programme of other members of the Alliance. We have also developed a network of partner hotels. In Ethiopia for example, there is the Sheraton. I’d also add that we arrange to adapt our flight schedules to the needs of business travellers as best as possible. In this way, there are overnight flights between Paris and Addis Ababa. Even if passengers take a connecting flight through to Nairobi, Mombasa, Johannesburg, or any other city, businesspeople can be sure of arriving at their final destination in the middle of the day at the latest. And finally, we are the most established airline in Africa for we fly to the highest number of destinations on the continent.
What are your development prospects for the coming years?
We were audited in 2005, and this was followed up by a development plan in which we envisaged increasing our number of passengers to one million and our number of planes to 55 by 2010. It turned out that at the end of 2010, we well exceeded these objectives. We therefore conceived a new development plan named “Vision 2025”. This time, the aim is to move up to 120 aircrafts (34 new planes have already been ordered), serving 90 worldwide destinations, and a yearly figure of 18 million passengers transported.
This investment in the future and the associated prospects seem realistic, namely because Africa’s economic growth is underway. The population is increasing and travelling more, but the continent does not possess major infrastructures. Air travel therefore appears to be the most obvious mode of transport. In addition, the economic relationships currently developing between Africa, Asia and Latin America are also extremely encouraging. Ethiopia is ideally situated between Africa and these continents. We are therefore setting up hubs: Addis Ababa for Eastern Africa, Lomé for Western Africa. We have also developed a partnership with Air Malawi to cover the southwest of the region. Competition is undoubtedly tough with the arrival on the African market of European and Asian airlines as well as Gulf carriers, but our years of service and the assets we have established enable us to be confident about facing these new challenges.