Ethiopian Airlines is determined to become a revolutionary icon in Africa’s aviation sector, and has had a long history of persistent and sustainable growth to show for it. It has added impressive numbers in profit, passengers, destinations, fleet, and investments across Africa, often surpassing targets it set for itself – the latest being its ambitious objective to maintain a fleet of 120 aircraft by 2025. With seven years left on the clock and 108 aircraft already achieved, Ethiopian has reviewed the objective to 150 aircraft.
This edition of our Deeplook looks at the company’s strides in the last 10 years from 2009 – 2018, covering its fleet, passengers, destinations, investments, and profit during the period under review.
After it was set up in December 1945 with an initial investment of ETB2.5 million, Ethiopian Airlines owned five Douglas C-47 Skytrains aircrafts. Its fleet increased to 36 by 2008. Company data shows that at least 72 aircrafts were added in the last 10 years compared to 31 in the first 63 years of operation. Its fleet grew by at least six aircrafts each year in the last 10 years, save for 2012 when no aircraft was added and 2016 when it added just one.
According to the company’s August 2018 factsheet, passengers have increased at a mean average of 13.48% in the last 10 years, growing from 2.8 million in 2009 to 10.6 million passengers in 2018. The airline did not experience a drop in the total number of passengers in any year during this period.
Ethiopia Airlines flies to 115 international destinations across Europe, Middle-East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Half of those destinations are in Africa – a major statement of intent to focus in Africa. Outside of Africa, Asia is its next major destination, flying to 18 destinations, the Americas is its least busy route with only 7 destinations.
Ethiopian Airlines have not relied only on its capacity to achieve its objective to own the African airspace. It has been on a mission to take stakes in private and national airlines. It has also been in negotiations to manage or provide technical support agreements with a few others. Ethiopian Airlines have acquired between 45% – 49% stakes in Guinea’s national carrier, Chadian Airline, Asky Airline – a private player in Togo, Zambian airlines, and Air Malawi. It is gearing towards running the Ethiopian – Mozambique Airlines which it wholly owns. In July, it agreed to a joint venture with logistics company, DHL to set up an Africa-focused logistics company which it will oversee.
This August, the company announced a $247 million profit, increasing by 6% from the previous year. Although still $37.9 million short of its 2016 figure, it is a major improvement from the previous year when profit dropped by more than 18%. From 2010 – 2012, the company’s profit dropped consecutively from $127.7 million in 2009 to $41.8 million, but have been on an optimum growth path up to 2018.