Aviation: Ethiopian Airlines, the rallying point for Africa

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“The achievements of Ethiopian Airlines since its formation in December, 1945, are a source of pride to Ethiopians as well as to many other Africans.

The airline has a modern fleet, an extensive route network, a reasonably strong balance sheet, aircraft maintenance and aviation training expertise, very dedicated staff and a priceless reputation for efficiency.

“Ethiopian Airlines also makes money. In fact, it is currently more profitable than many airlines in Europe and North America,” these were the words of the Nigerian-born international expert on aircraft financing, Nick Fadugba, on the impressive performance of the African carrier.

There is no doubt that Ethiopian airlines has continued to do not only its country, but Africa proud, following the uncommon way the management has continued to run the airline successfully even while airlines on the continent are serious lagging behind.

Obviously, Ethiopian Airlines has been able to give hope to African continent which had hitherto, been tagged as a confused and rudderless continent where nothing works owing to bad governance laced with high level of corruption and lack of cooperation amongst the leaders of the continent on air transport policies.

Therefore, despite the catalogue of woes and subsequent blackmails of the continent in the hands of developed nations, the ability of Ethiopian Airlines to not only prove this notion wrong but continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with airlines from Europe, Asia, America and other parts of the world has only pointed to one fact, that ability of Africa to turn its fortunes around lies with it.

This brings to fore the impressive performances of the African airline as witnessed in the various strategies its managers often employed to keep the airline afloat in a business generally regarded as ‘risky venture.’

It is no longer news that many airlines across Africa including Nigeria had fallen like a pack  of cards few years after their existence, owing to many reasons ranging from corruption, lack of understanding on how to run an airline and unnecessary interferences from their governments.

It therefore, becomes amazing how Ethiopian airlines from Africa has been able to surmount these challenges to the point of driving aviation sector in the Horn of Africa to become the major source of revenue generation for the country.

The ability of the management of the airline made up of only Ethiopians to discover the secret behind running the airline profitably may not be far from their determination to prove that there are also brains in Africa.

Little wonder the airline continues to roll out different robust strategies and  innovations that have greatly boosted its expansionist programme and profitability. In other words, the ‘thinking faculty’ of the management of the airline is ever active as the airline continues to announce new routes and fleet increase.

The latest of such route expansion was witnessed last week in Lagos when the airline’s General Manager in Nigeria, Solomon Begashaw announced that the airline will commence operations to Singapore next month with the latest airplane.

The good news about the development is that the commencement of flights to Singapore will also benefit Nigerians as the airline will be flying Nigerians to Singapore for tourism in Asia.

One obvious factor that is working for Ethiopian Airlines is that besides the high level of patriotism of the citizens, the government understood the importance and benefits in aviation and therefore gave it all its support devoid of any politics. The time has come for Nigeria and the whole of Africa to learn from the example of Ethiopian Airlines which is presently the pride of the continent.
By Shola Adekola

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