There are few airline success stories from the continent of Africa. The wreckage of national carrier after carrier is strewn across the landscape. For example, Nigeria where I lived, has had a revolving door of carriers. South African Airways, once the strongest African carrier is bleeding cash as it limps along with an ageing fleet. Kenya Airlines announced a massive deficit and is facing an uncertain future.
The airline has been recognised as being one of the most reliable, safe and profitable airlines in Africa despite going through war, hijackings and droughts. They have been heavily expanding into the Asian market, hiring Chinese nationals as cabin crew.
Strategic plans are normally dull affairs but Ethiopian’s is significant in that they aim to become the single largest African airline by 2025 with:
- 100 aircraft
- $US10 billion in annual revenue
- a four star Skytrax ranking (it is currently a three star carrier).
Ethiopian currently sits in third place in Africa by passenger numbers ferrying over six million passengers last year to over 110 destinations. Number one spots currently sits with Star Alliance partner Egyptair who carried almost 12 million passengers. At second place is fellow Star Alliance partner South African Airways with just over nine million.
This week, CAPA (the Centre for Aviation) gave Ethiopian a huge vote of confidence when they named them Airline of the Year for their leadership in the African market. The eight judges noted the airline’s growth, consistent profitability and stability.
Seems to me, they just need to work on its product consistency and get that customer rating up. Skytrax Passenger reviews currently rate the airline at 5 out of ten and have some very critical comments about luggage, entertainment, customer service and aeroplane age.
I have not yet flown Ethiopian! I aim to rectify this in 2016. Have you flown them? What did you think?