Ethiopian: Global Embodiment of Aviation Resilience

@ABN

Ethiopian Airlines has been a key player in connecting Africa and the rest of the world. The Airline greatly contributes to the economy of the country as well as the continent by providing tourists and business travelers with quality air transport services. Ethiopian carries more than 12 million passengers annually across the globe, with over 125 destinations in five continents.

Addis Ababa is the gateway to Africa and a major transit hub for those flying in and out of Africa. What’s more, Addis is home to the largest Pan African Airline, Ethiopian Airlines that has played a prominent role in boosting the economic and political significance of the city. 

In line with its diversified business model development plan, Ethiopian has built Addis Ababa’s ultra-modern, five star and tourist standard hotel-Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. The hotel has an excellentgrand kitchen restaurant,a lobby lounge, Africa’s biggest Chinese restaurant and high tech fitted ballrooms that can accommodate more than 2000 guests at a time. With the second phase of the hotel construction progress, the hotel providesend-to-end service for tourists and transit passengers.

Ethiopia has emerged as a destination and a transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa implementing relaxed visa rules. In fact, Ethiopian Airlines has collaborated with national immigration office to ease entry to Ethiopia incorporating online visa into the airlines’ website. Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai as the leading gateway to the region.

Miretab Tesfaye
Director of Digital Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines global network and the passengers transiting through Addis Ababa have given rise to the growth of Addis Ababa city at large. Conference tourism is becoming a major blooming segment in the tourism sector, and given its comparative advantages and strategic location,Ethiopia is using the opportunity.

Addis Ababa is the third largest city in the number of diplomatic missions in the world, next to New York and Brussels making Ethiopiaa hub of conference tourism. Ethiopian Airlines is a Star Alliance carrier with a global nonstop network to Addis Ababa.

In order to accommodate the increasing number of passengers and deliver high quality service to its customers, Ethiopian has made substantial investment in aviation infrastructure expansion as one of the core pillars of its Vision 2025. A portion of the expansion project has been operational years back with enhanced features while the newly launched airport terminal was built with biosafety and biosecurity in focus.After the outbreak of COVID 19, passengers travel confidence depended on the biosafety and biosecurity measures throughout customers’ journey. The new terminal has incorporated various digital options to make travel hassle free and safe.

The terminal has check-in hall with sixty check-in counters, thirty self-check-in kiosks, ten self-bag drop/SBD/, sixteen immigration counters with more e-gate provisions and  sixteen central security screening areas for departing passengers. In addition, it has three contact gates for wide body aircraft along with ten remote contact gates with people mover – travellator, escalator, and panoramic lifts. It can house thirty-two arrival immigration counters with eight e-gate provisions at the mezzanine floor level.

The realization of the new terminal will play a key role in cementing Addis Ababa Bole International Airport’s position as the largest gateway to Africa.The new terminal infrastructure is unique in that it is the first terminal in the world to be completed after Covid-19. Safety is always Ethiopian’s top priority and the amenities installed in the terminal are ready to provide customers with guaranteed safety and extra convenience.

Ethiopian has been chosen as official carrier for different international and regional conferences held in Addis Ababa. The Airline carries high-level officials for the annual AU conference and other UN meetings which are held in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is endowed with morethan 10 UNESCO registered tangible and intangible heritages. The influx of tourists from around the globe has been increasing, as many undiscovered stories of Ethiopia become known to the world. Ethiopian Airlines has a dedicated office dubbed Ethiopian holidays- to help promote Ethiopian tourism. Ethiopian holidays has been providing transit passengers with numerous benefit packages such as free city tour in Addis Ababa.

Overall, the role of Ethiopian Airlines in the evolutionary growth of Addis Ababa has been pivotal. The city’s growth is inextricably linked to the advancement of the Airline that has brought about the influx of passengers to and from Africa through Addis Ababa.

Being the largest African carrier and SKYTRAX four-star Airline, Ethiopian Airlines has been struggling to stay afloat because of the impact of COVID-19. In fact, several airlines across the world have gone bankrupt and ceased operation while several others took different measures that include layoffs and furloughs of employees, as well as cutting salaries and downsizing of fleet.  Ethiopian has stayed afloat by being agile and squarely focusing its operations on Cargo and special evacuation charter flights as well as providing MRO services to other operators.

Ethiopian played crucial role in the fight against COVID-19 by transporting medical supplies and reuniting families.  Ethiopian delivered medical supplies to African countries and received recognition for its efficient delivery. The UN chose Addis Ababa as a humanitarian air hub from which medical supplies are distributed.              

The Airline applied different strategies to cope up with the effects of the pandemic and it is still surviving without government bailout.  Ethiopian has never stopped its passenger and cargo operation due to COVID-19.Ethiopian Airlines has been there for the people in a dire need of help implementing all safety measures as per the IATA, ICAO and WHO guidelines and recommendations.

According to IATA, it will take two to three years for the airline industryto come to the level it was in December 2019. However, Ethiopian plans to reach to 50% level of operation in the first quarter of 2020/21 and 70% in the second quarter.

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