The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

Africa: Ethiopian CEO Calls On African Governments to Open Their Skies

Photo: Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam receiving the 'African Airline of the Year' award from IATA CEO Tony Tyler.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Geremaraim has called upon African states to open their skies for African airlines.

Tewolde made the remark at the 45th African Airlines Association (AFRAA) annual general assembly held early this week in Mombasa, Kenya. Tewolde said that African carriers were operating under unfriendly regulatory framework. Tewolde said that markets are protected by bilateral air service agreements. "Unfortunately, there are African countries that prohibit African airlines not to fly to their countries. There are countries that deny African airline traffic right and grant rights to non-African airlines," Tewolde lamented. According to him, African nations should open their skies to African airlines. "We need to wholeheartedly implement the Yamoussoukro Declaration (A 1988 agreement by African countries to open their skies to African airlines).

Tewolde said that non-African carriers carry eighty percent of the African passenger traffic. "We must open our skies to African airlines and have at least a fifty percent fare share," he told delegates.

In a related news, Ethiopian Airlines won the 2013 "African Airline of the Year Award" from the African Airlines Association at its 45th Annual General Assembly meeting held from 25 to 26 November 2013, in Mombasa, Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam received the award from Mr. Tony Tyler, director-general and chief executive officer of International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the presence of over 370 airline executives from 55 African countries, aircraft manufacturers, service providers and other aviation stakeholders. Ethiopian was recognized by the African Airlines Association for its global standard service, fast expanding network and continuous profitability.

"As a truly indigenous African airline owned, managed and operated by Africans, it is a special honor for us to receive this prestigious award from our association and fellow African sisterly airlines. The award is a tribute to our 7,000+ employees, who are the main reason behind our success and who are working very hard every day to make Ethiopian shine high in the sky.

According to the CEO, the award is also a recognition of the successful implementation of the airline's 15-year strategic roadmap, Vision 2025, now in its fourth year. "We are meeting and even exceeding the ambitious network and fleet expansion, and revenue and passenger growth targets of our Vision 2025," he said.

As of October 1, the airline has transformed itself into an aviation group, which will have, in addition to passenger and cargo businesses, profit centers Ethiopian Academy, Ethiopian Ground Services and Ethiopian In-Flight Catering. Going forward these aviation services are expected to give diversified revenue streams, and enable the group to continue on a fast, profitable and sustainable growth trajectory, and attain the objective of generating 10 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2025.

Today, Ethiopian has the youngest and most modern fleet in Africa and an extensive global network covering practically all sub-Saharan Africa and five continents.

"With our multiple hub strategy, through our partner African airlines, ASKY in West Africa and soon Malawi Airlines in Southern Africa, we are more than ever bringing Africa together and closer to the world. This is facilitating the flow of investment, tourism and trade in Africa and contributing to the rise of our great continent", Tewolde said.

Ethiopian has also won in 2013 the SKYTRAX award for "Best Airline Staff Service in Africa" and the Passengers Choice Award for "Best Airline in Africa".

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