Air Transport World

An African success story. (Ethiopian Airlines) (Company Profile)

ADDIS ABABA-in Africa, only one airline consistently earns praise from its customers and respect from its competitors. And few other developing-nation carriers are as highly regarded for professionalism; none has sent aU of its top executives to management schools abroad. Indeed, Ethiopian Airlines is one of the few success stories in the African air-transport industry.

The reason is twofold. First, the carrier benefited from the experience of TWA, which helped organize it in 1945 and establish a management structure that continues to this day. Second, the various Ethiopian governments consistently support the national carrier-even the Marxist Mengistu regime that was deposed last year did not interfere with the airline's management and authorized acquisition of Boeing 767s and 747s, and ATR 42s. The fact that Ethiopian Airlines was a valuable foreign-currency earner undoubtedly was responsible for the let-well-enough-alone policy.

Ethiopian Airlines' profitability record is exemplary-despite the civil war raging in the country, the company recorded net profits in its last four fiscal years: $7.3 million for 1987-88; $12.210 million for 1988-89; $41.985 million-including $26.319 million gain on the sale of aircraft-in 198990 and $9.087 minion in 1990-91. These figures would have been higher but for the civil unrest. One effect of the troubles in the country was to halt tourism, stemming one of the airline's main sources of revenue.

Revival of tourism is one of the aims of the government that took office last spring and a big program to bring visitors has been launched with Ethiopian Airlines in a lead role. …

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