TTME NOV 2017_PG 14

Kingpin in African skies: Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has become a key player in the African aviation market. Ali Mohammed, Area ManagerGulf, Ethiopian Airlines, shares with TravTalk their plan towards achieving their Vision 2025 with an aim to earn $10 billion revenue, $1 billion profit, and expand to 120 international and 26 domestic destinations.

SHEHARA RIZLY

How has business been for Ethiopian Airlines during the past 10 months?
Despite the challenging aviation macro business dynamics, Ethiopian Airlines continued to drive robust growth across the continent during 2016- 2017 fiscal year. Ethiopian Airlines Group reported a profit of $232.8 million, total revenue of $2.71 billion in 2016-17 fiscal year and carried close to nine million passengers and close to 350,000 tons of airfreight during the fiscal year. All in all, Ethiopian is growing in leaps and bounds, registering an average growth of 25 per cent over the past seven years; shining and winning prominent awards on several international stages for its excellence and commendable performance.

What are the stronger markets served by the airline this year?
To mention the stronger markets served by Ethiopian this year: from Middle East Dubai; Africa-our hub Addis Ababa and other cities like Johannesburg, Nairobi, Legos; from Asia-Mumbai, Guangzhou, Beijing; from Americas-Washington, and from Europe-London and Frankfurt.

Please explain the new routes that were introduced over the past few months?
During 2016- 2017 fiscal year, Ethiopian Airlines continued to build global network, adding new destinations to its ever-emerging route network: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Conakry, Guinea; Oslo, Norway; Chengdu, China and Singapore and Ethiopian’s broad network is further expanded through its membership of the Star alliance and its codeshare agreements with its airline partners.
Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services too expanded its services only in 2016/17, has launched cargo services to Ahmedabad (fifth gateway to India), Zaragoza, Milan, Hanoi and now to Mexico and Los Angeles while reinstating services to N’djamena. The largest cargo network operator and one of the major global cargo players, Ethiopian now serves more than 42 global freighter destinations.
Before the end of the fiscal year 2017-2018, Ethiopian tentatively planned the following destinations Gujarat (India), Shenzhen (Buenos Aires), Geneva (Switzerland), Man (Côte d’Ivoire), Mauritius, Chennai (India), Istanbul (Turkey) and Lisbon (Portugal).

Could you share some details on the upgrade of services to some destinations and refurbishment to some others? Ethiopian has invested $6 million to retrofit all its B-767-300 ER fleet, fitting them with flat-bed seats in Cloud Nine with a range of video programming available for wireless streaming in all cabins. Ethiopian has also launched another Platinum Tier to deliver a significant boost to its high valued and loyal ShebaMiles member passenger’s travel experience during 2016-17 fiscal year.
Ethiopian drew the fiscal year to a close with the government’s decision to form a holding company through amalgamating Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian Airport Enterprise thereby establishing a giant aviation group. The merger has enabled Ethiopian offer an efficient and streamlined global standard airport service to its customers at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, its main hub.

As Ethiopian celebrated 20 years with Star Alliance what is the strategy for the next decade?
Ethiopian, a proud member of Star Alliance, has enabled Ethiopian serve global customers across the globe via the widest network of Star. Working harder along with Star, Ethiopian wishes to mark more success years in the alliance. Ethiopian is pursuing a well-designed 15 years growth plan or strategic road map dubbed Vision 2025, to transform the airline to a Leading Aviation Group in Africa by 2025 and we are now in the seventh year of implementation with what can be considered as the highest performance and profit in the industry.

Do explain the importance of obtaining most promising airline at the maiden Arabian Travel Awards this year?
As a multi award winning airline, Ethiopian strongly believes that the maiden Arabian Travel Awards is an important accolade to receive. This is a very strong testimony that in line with our vision 2025, our heavy investment in customer service, Human Resource Development, modern fleet, infrastructure and ICT has resulted in the desired customer delight which is expressed by the strong vote of confidence we enjoy from our esteemed customers. The accolade will motivate us to continue to invest time, energy and money on the four pillars of our Vision 2025 with sharp focus in customer service across the value chain.
This October, Ethiopian Airlines was voted 2017 Middle East and Africa Airline of the Year by Airline Economics Magazine and has been crowned as the Rising Star Carrier of the Year both in industry and customer choice awards on Payload Asia Awards 2017.

What are the plans and strategies used by Ethiopian to train and mentor more youngsters to the trade?
Focusing on Human Resources Development (HRD) as one of the four major pillars of our fifteen years growth plan, Vision 2025, Ethiopian is continually striving to ensure self sufficiency in meeting the growing skilled manpower requirement and avail competent aviation professionals throughout the continent and beyond. With the largest aviation academy in Africa, a full ICAO TRAINAIR Plus Member and IATA Authorised Global Training Center, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Currently, Ethiopian trains about 2,000 aviation trainees per annum and it envisages enhancing its intake capacity to 4,000 by 2025.

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