Ethiopian Airlines Invites African Countries Invest In Its Shares



Flowing from the huge revenue and profit recorded recently, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s undisputed carrier; has extended invitation to African governments to invest in the airline.

This is just as the airline said it does not just want to be Africa’s top airline in terms of passenger traffic and destinations but also in its ownership structure.

Ethiopian Airlines, a state –Owned carrier also stated that it just doesn’t want to dominate the continent’s skies but that it was equally looking to boost Africa’s fragmented airspace through increased connectivity, forming strategic alliances, besides launching or reviving new sovereign African airlines.

The Chief Executive Officer OF Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gabremariam, who extended the invitation, suggested that the airline should be co-owned by African governments.

Tewolde said Ethiopia’s government should capitalise on the airline’s stature to consolidate its place in the African continent.

According to Tewolde, “As a Pan-African airline, I don’t see any reason why we should not sell the minority shares of Ethiopian Airlines to African countries if they are interested in buying.”

More than anything, Tewolde’s bullish statement is reflective of the bold new era in Ethiopia.

Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April, he has overseen radical reforms that have changed the country’s trajectory.

These include introducing a major policy aimed at loosening the government’s monopoly on several key economic sectors, including aviation and telecommunications.

Tewolde’s words are also indicative of ET’s record success in improving its financial, operational, aircraft fleet and annual passenger numbers.

Recalled that in the fiscal year ending July 2018, the carrier announced that it bought a 45 per cent stake to revive Zambia Airways, which went into liquidation way back in 1994.

In addition, to spread its regional footprint, it also kick started negotiations to establish new hubs in Mozambique, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea in addition to the ones it already operates in Malawi and Togo.

As part of its efforts to launch and manage new African haulers, the company recently said that it was the lead contestant in a tender aimed at setting up Nigeria’s controversial new national airline.

Looking to tap into improving intra-African travel, ET increased its African network to over 58 out of its over 100 international destinations, introducing flights to Kaduna, Nigeria; Kisangani in DR Congo and Nosy-Be in Madagascar.

In late July, the airline announced a deal with DHL to build the leading cargo logistics centre in Africa.

To attract more than its current 10.6 million passengers, the airline introduced a plan enabling travelers to discover and experience the many historical, cultural, religious and natural treasures of Ethiopia.

In June, Ethiopia introduced an e-visa service to all international visitors, easing access for passengers with layovers to enter the country.

Ethiopian has managed this even as airline performance in Africa remained weak, load factors remained inadequate, jet fuel prices rose, and competition stiffened from international carriers like Emirates.

Tewolde said that the airline hope to replicate the past “exceptional year” in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

One thing that will aid Ethiopian’s ambitions is the opening by the end of 2018 its China-built terminal upgrade in its main hub in Addis Ababa, effectively improving its on-ground customer service.


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