The remarkable growth of Ethiopian Airlines - "The New Spirit of Africa”

Monday March 16 2015

Ethiopian Airlines flight crew.

Ethiopian Airlines flight crew. 

Ethiopian Airlines’ slogan “The New Spirit of Africa” is a clear indication of what it dreams to be in Africa. Ethiopian, which started operating after the Second World War has become the largest airline in Africa in 2013 based on revenue and profit according to IATA.

With a modern fleet consisting of modern Boeing and Bombardier aircraft such as the B737NG, B777, B787 and Q400NG, Ethiopian Airlines is not only profitable, but also one of the most innovative African airlines.

Thanks to its modern fleet, the African airline is expanding its global network, with more routes to Europe, North- and South-America, Asia and the Middle East. Ethiopian’s fleet has already more than doubled in size over the last five years.

Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet expansion for the

Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet expansion for the past five years

Ethiopian Airlines was the first airline in Africa and only the third airline worldwide to receive the ultramodern aircraft of Boeing787 in 2012. By January 2015, Ethiopian Airlines received eleven Dreamliners with two more on order and plans to possibly order more in the near future.

Ethiopian has already become the largest airline in Africa based on fleet size that pledges the flagship carrier to expand its network in 2015, enabling it to widen the gap with other leading African carriers. Ethiopian currently has orders for ‘next generation’ aircraft including 20-30 737 MAX 8s, 14 A350s, three 737-800s, two 787-8s, two 777-300ERs and two 777Fs.

On several measures, Ethiopian has quickly emerged as Africa’s leading airline. Perhaps most significant is the group’s still evolving role in setting up joint ventures throughout Africa, ASKY Airlines based in Lomé, Togo (West Africa) is the best example of this. Ethiopian’s willingness to develop aviation across the continent is noteworthy particularly given that other major African carriers have been unsuccessful over the years with similar pursuits.

Ethiopian also has been the exception in the African airline industry from a financial perspective. Despite external threats that could not be anticipated or directly managed, such as the global economic malaise, the Ebola outbreak, and currency fluctuations, Ethiopian managed to sustain its leading position in Africa. It has reported successive profits in all its existence, while most other large African carriers have been in the red.

Ethiopian Airlines’ total revenue for the past

Ethiopian Airlines’ total revenue for the past five years

Ethiopian continues its business growth, both in terms of capacity on offer and traffic carried. Capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), has shown a positive growth for the past five years.

Ethiopian Airlines’ capacity (ASK) for the past

Ethiopian Airlines’ capacity (ASK) for the past five years.

Ethiopian is one of the only four airlines in Africa with over 5 million annual passengers. Fuelled by 15% year over year growth, Ethiopian carried 6 million passengers in FY2014 compared to only 3.7 million five years ago.

Ethiopian Airlines’ number of passengers

Ethiopian Airlines’ number of passengers carried for the past five years.

Africa has the potential to be a significant force in aviation on the back of robust economic growth forecasts, with Africa having among the fastest growing economies worldwide. Demand for air transport has increased steadily over the past years with passenger numbers and freight traffic growing significantly.

African aviation needs to grow at double digit rates to be a significant player in the global industry. Therefore it is critical that Ethiopian stay agile as it grow.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our long-term goals to attain our Vision 2025 to become the leading Aviation Group in Africa. This is why Ethiopian continues to invest heavily in new technology and initiatives to enhance our product offering and customer experience.