Barely two months after it began, Ethiopian Airlines will end the first nonstop service from LAX to Africa next month, according to a report in online airline flight route tracker Airlineroute and indirectly confirmed in a press release from the airline.

The airline launched nonstop flights on Dec. 17 from Los Angeles International Airport to Lomé-Tokoin Airport in Togo, then connecting to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. These thrice weekly flights were the first nonstop service between LAX and Africa.

But Airlineroute reported on Jan. 29 that Ethiopian Airlines was halting the flights on Feb. 13 as part of a broad restructuring of North American flight routes. A press release from the airline said: “There will be a new gateway, Houston, which will replace Los Angeles, and will be served three times per week via West Africa.” The release gave no date for the switchover.

According to the press release, the Houston market contains a large African community and that oil companies headquartered there have made frequent trips to oil fields and operations in Africa.

The release gave no details on whether the passenger counts on the nonstop service from LAX to Lome and Addis Ababa met the airline’s expectations. An email to the airline’s corporate communications office in Addis Ababa seeking further explanation did not receive an immediate response.

Travelers seeking to fly from LAX to Addis Ababa can still catch flights with stops in Europe, including Dublin and Madrid.

 

Credit: Los Angeles Business Journal

Travel consultancy ForwardKeys confirms Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai.

Ethiopia has overtaken Dubai as a conduit for long-haul passengers to Africa, highlighting the success of the state airline’s expansion drive and the reforms of its new prime minister.

Travel consultancy ForwardKeys said on Wednesday Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai, one of the world’s busiest airports, as the transfer hub for long-haul travel to the region.

Analysing data from travel booking systems that record 17 million flight bookings a day, ForwardKeys found the number of long-haul transfers to sub-Saharan Africa via Addis Ababa jumped by 85% from 2013 to 2017. Transfers via Dubai over the same period rose by 31%.

So far this year, Addis Ababa’s growth is 18%, versus 3% for Dubai.

Dubai has long been a major global air travel hub because it is the base of Gulf carrier Emirates. Given the lack of an “open skies” deal smoothing flights across Africa, many passengers travelling between one part of the continent and another, or from Asia or Europe to Africa, must often transit through Dubai.

But this is changing.

Ethiopian Airlines, the country’s most successful state company, is accelerating a 15-year strategy it launched in 2010 to win back market share on routes to and from Africa that are dominated by Turkish Airlines and Emirates.

It is also weaving a patchwork of new African routes to rapidly expanding and lucrative Asian markets.

ForwardKeys also attributed the recent jump in bookings via Addis Ababa in part to a positive international response to the broad reforms introduced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April and has upended politics in the Horn of Africa country of around 105 million people.

It cited two changes in particular: a move to allow visitors to apply for visas online, and Abiy’s pledge to open Ethiopia’s largely state-controlled economy to foreign investment.

After Abiy made peace with Eritrea to end a two-decade state of war, Ethiopian resumed flights to its neighbour in July. This month, it relaunched flights to Somalia’s capital after four decades.

And the rise of travel via Addis Ababa looks set to continue. International bookings via Ethiopia are up 40% year-on-year for November to January 2019, ahead of all other destinations in Africa, ForwardKeys said.

 

- Reuters

Ethiopian Airlines is accelerating its strategy of weaving a patchwork of new African routes to soak up traffic on the continent and fly customers towards its more lucrative flights to rapidly expanding Asian markets.

With a long-delayed African “open skies” revolution still mired in red tape, Ethiopian has been snapping up stakes in small carriers around the continent to pre-empt potential rivals and become the dominant pan-African airline.

The carrier is in talks with Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Republic and Djibouti about either launching airlines or securing landing spots, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told Reuters.

He also said in May the airline was looking to set up carriers in Equatorial Guinea and Guinea through joint ventures.

“The task of African integration is not easy,” Tewolde said in an interview. “The context is the need for air transport. There is huge demand. We are responding to it.”

Ethiopian’s push comes as Middle Eastern rivals who expanded heavily in Africa are feeling some pain from overcapacity, while African carriers such as South African Airways and Kenya Airways are on the back foot after losing money for years.

The success or failure of Ethiopian’s plan is being watched by long-haul competitors such as Turkish Airlines and suppliers led by Boeing and, more recently, Airbus.

Ethiopian’s fortunes are also important for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, which has said it plans to sell a minority stake in the airline to domestic and foreign investors as part of broad economic reform pledges.

Ethiopian unveiled its 15-year expansion strategy in 2010, and started small. First it helped launch ASKY Airlines in the West African country of Togo and then acquired a 49 percent stake in Malawi’s flag carrier in southern Africa in 2013.

Since May, Ethiopian has announced plans to launch an airline in Mozambique, relaunched Zambia’s flag carrier, established a new airline in Chad to cover West and Central Africa and resumed flights to Somalia after a 41-year hiatus.

REGIONAL HUBS

The prize is growing fast. Air traffic in Africa is forecast to grow 6 percent a year, twice as quickly as mature markets and faster than any other region over the next two decades. Ethiopian is hoping to snare a greater share of capacity on flights between cities in Africa, which are already 90-percent controlled by African carriers, according to data firm OAG.

In most cases so far, Ethiopian has taken minority stakes in “start-up” airlines and tried to implant its management culture, often in nations haunted by costly failures of state carriers.

Tewolde also wants to claw back market share on routes to and from the continent, dominated by Turkish and Gulf carrier Emirates. This year, 61 percent of capacity to or from Africa has been controlled by non-African carriers, says OAG.

There are big risks.

Ethiopian is spending tens of millions of dollars in some of Africa’s toughest markets and the strategy of buying minority stakes to get a foothold abroad has failed spectacularly for some, such as Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.

Analysts worry accelerated expansion may spread Ethiopian too thinly if traffic doesn’t pick up fast enough at its new hubs in Togo, Malawi and Chad.

The regional hubs are designed partly to channel customers to Ethiopian’s main hub in Addis Ababa and so fill its direct flights to the Middle East and Asia.

OPEN SKIES?

There are also concerns that none is in a major African city. Lome is far smaller than west African cities such as Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos, or Abidjan in Ivory Coast, while Chad’s dusty desert capital is even smaller.

"You want to build (a hub) in a place where you are going to get local traffic and connecting traffic," said Craig Jenks, president of consultancy Airline/Aircraft Projects Inc aap.aero/index.html.

Tewolde said the new airline in Chad would draw in passengers from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Niger, northern Nigeria and Sudan. Yamlaksira Getachew, a management professor at Loyola Marymount University, warned Zambia’s relaunched flag carrier could steal traffic from Ethiopian’s existing southern African hub in neighbouring Malawi.

Ethiopian has been forced to adopt the piecemeal approach to expansion because full air transport liberalisation has failed to materialise, despite several attempts. In 1999, 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision in Ivory Coast’s capital giving airlines freedom to ferry passengers between two foreign countries.

But the agreement was barely implemented as governments moved to protect domestic carriers.

To try to revive the stalled process, 23 African governments signed another deal this year to forge a single aviation market. So far, Ethiopian’s plan appears to be working. It says it has clocked average growth of 25 percent a year since 2010 and expects to carry nearly 10.6 million passengers this year, up from 3.7 million eight years ago.

Unlike many African rivals, it is also making money. Net profit rose 2 percent to $233 million in its 2017-18 fiscal year.

It says Western banks are helping to fund plans to boost its fleet of 108 planes, with 66 more on order.

Highlighting the potential riches at stake, Chinese banks are involved too, partly reflecting Beijing’s drive to build a new trade corridor to the Middle East and Africa, bankers said.

 

- Reuters

As part of advancing regional economic integration, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement to establish joint special economic zones.
 
“The two countries will develop Joint Investment Projects, including the establishment of Joint Special Economic Zones,” twitted Yemane G. Meskel, Eritrean Minister of Information.
 
The agreement is signed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, according to Mr. Yemane. The signing of the agreement was attended by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
 
The agreement has followed the Joint Declaration on Peace and Friendship the two countries have signed on July 9, 2018 in Asmara. Labeled, ‘Agreement on Peace, Friendship and Comprehensive Cooperation between Ethiopia and Eritrea,’ the deal signed in Saudi involves comprehensive cooperation in the political, security, defense, economic, trade, investment, cultural and social fields on the basis of complementarity and synergy.
 
The two countries will implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision, while combating terrorism, trafficking in people, arms and drugs in accordance with international covenants and conventions, according to the agreement.
 
Appreciating the peace deal between the two East African countries, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has awarded President Isaias and Prime Minister Abiy Saudi Arabia’s highest medal.
 
The Red Sea
In a related development President Isaias has also talked with King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia about enhancement of bilateral cooperation and vital issues of development and security of the Red Sea maritime route.
 
Djibouti – Eritrea
After several years of border conflict, the leaders of Djibouti and Eritrea have met in Saudi Arabia. In a meeting in Jeddah, President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti agreed to open a new chapter of cooperation & good neighborliness between the two sisterly countries, according to Mr. Yemane.
 
Business Insider
A foremost African airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has signed an agreement with Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to invest in the newly established Zambia’s national carrier, Zambia Airways.
The latest development, which would see Zambia Airways take to the skies, came after East African nation had stayed for 24 years without a flag carrier.
 
The agreement was contained in a joint statement issued on Monday by the Group Chief Executive Officer of IDC, Mateyo Kaluba, and the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Telwolde Gebremariam, after the two parties signed the agreement in Lusaka, Zambian capital.
 
According to the statement, the national airline project of Zambia would be funded with an initial investment of $30 million with IDC – Zambian government – holding 55 percent equity, while Ethiopian Airlines would hold 45 percent share of the investment in the new venture.
 
“Obviously as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary for its growth. It is expected that the new airline will operate 12 aircraft and carry over 1.9 million passengers by 2028,” the statement read.
 
The airline will initially operate routes across Africa, before extending its network to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
 
Ethiopian Airlines noted the investment in Zambia Airways is consistent with its Vision 2025 Multiple Hubs Strategy in Africa.
 
“As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we believe that African carriers will only get their fair share of the aviation industry and the African market through partnerships with other African carriers,” it said.
 
The Ethiopian national carrier, the only consistently profitable carrier in Africa serving about 70 global cities and 60 across Africa from its hub in Addis Ababa with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, plans to set up four airlines on the continent this year.
 
Presently, the air company which already owns stakes in carriers in Malawi and Togo, is ranked the largest carrier in African continent by revenue and profit, according to the International Air Transport Association.
 
Last week, the airline said it was one of the airlines being considered to partner with the Federal Government of Nigeria on the country’s newly launched flag carrier, Nigeria Air.
 
Nigeria is planning to set up a new national carrier about fifteen years after the old Nigeria Airways ceased operations in the country.
 
In July, the Nigerian government officially unveiled the name and logo of the country’s new carrier at the Farnborough International Public Airshow in London, United Kingdom.
 
According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the new national airline would be private sector-led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, with the government owning not more than five percent equity and zero interference.
 
 
Source: NAN
Ethiopian Airlines says it has signed a shareholding agreement with Zambia’s main development agency to relaunch the southern African country’s flag carrier at an initial cost of $30 million.
 
A joint statement with Zambia’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in Lusaka said that under the plan, Zambia Airways, being revived more than two decades after it was shut down, would operate 12 planes by 2028.
 
The Ethiopian state-owned carrier has outpaced regional competitors Kenya Airways and South African Airways to become Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit, and has been buying shares in other African airlines to gain a competitive advantage over rivals such as those in the Gulf.
 
Ethiopian Airlines said it would own 45 per cent of the revamped Zambian airline, while Zambia would own 55 per cent.
 
“The initial investment as we start up the national carrier will be $30 million. Obviously, as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary to support its growth,” it said.
 
Ethiopian Airlines had earlier said in January that it had signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways.
 
“Zambia Airways will launch local and regional routes this year, while intercontinental routes, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia, will be added in the near future,” the joint statement stated.
 
It would be recalled that the state-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994, while the privately-owned Zambian Airways then emerged as the country’s main carrier with flights to other major hubs in southern Africa, but it suspended operations in 2009.
 
 
NAN

Ethiopian Airlines should be co-owned by African governments, suggested its Group chief executive Mr Tewolde Gebremariam.

Commenting on the recently announced privatisation plan by the government for the national carrier, Mr Tewolde said it "would be good if African countries such as Nigeria have a share in the company".

Addis Ababa is seeking to open up its economy by selling a stake in some of its state-run enterprises such as the airline. Mr Tewolde, however, cautioned that in the liberalisation strategy, Ethiopian Airlines should not be "treated like other state enterprises set for privatisation."

He said given the airline's role in connecting Africa, the government should capitalise on that to maintain its position in the continent.

"As a pan-African airline, I don't see any reason why we should not sell the minority shares of Ethiopian Airlines to African countries if they are interested in buying," Mr Tewolde said at a press briefing.

He expressed hope that the advisory council on privatisation set up by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed would consider such issues.

Acquisitions

Africa's largest airline by revenue and profit, according to the International Air Transport Association, has stepped up its expansion plan by setting up hubs across the continent. The airline has been in talks with African governments such as Chad, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Nigeria, and Mozambique to set up carriers through joint ventures.

Mr Tewolde said the airline seeks to increase air connection within Africa that currently stands at 20 per cent.

Ethiopian Airlines is set to launch Chadian Airlines and Guinea Airlines later this year in separate joint ventures with the Chad and Guinean governments respectively. It will own a 49 per cent stake in each of the carriers, with the governments holding the remaining 51 per cent.

Mr Tewolde said the airline will also set up a new carrier, Ceiba Intercontinental, in a joint venture with Equatorial Guinea. It holds a 45 per cent share of Zambian Airways that is set to be relaunched in October after more than two decades.

Ethiopian Airlines already runs Togo-based Asky Airline where it holds a 40 per cent stake and Malawian Airlines where it has 49 per cent share. Mr Tewolde said the airline is among the frontrunners to set up and run a new national carrier for Nigeria.

In addition, he said it already has contracts for maintenance work with Nigeria's Arik Air - the largest private airline, and Medview Airline. In Mozambique, the carrier plans to set up a subsidiary, the Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines.

In Ghana, Mr Tewolde said they have been in talks with Ghana to have direct flights between Accra and London.

Profits

The airline announced a $233 million net profit for the 2017/18 financial year, a $4 million rise from $229 million it reported the previous year.

Its operating revenue rose 43 per cent to $3.21 billion. Passenger numbers increased by 21 per cent to 10.6 million. The airline purchased 14 aircraft in the financial year that ended last month to bring its fleet to 100, and added 21 destinations.

Ethiopian Airlines recently announced a joint venture agreement with German logistics giant DHL which offers the German firm a 49 per cent stake in cargo hauling business.

It is understood that the carrier is already in talks with global electronic giants like General Electric (GE), Samsung and Techno Mobile to set up their storage and distribution centres in Addis Ababa, which will then allow the airline exclusivity in providing shipment services within the continent, with DHL undertaking the last-mile connectivity.

The airline is also set to start operations of a new $350 million high-end hotel that is under construction.

Source » Nation Kenya

The Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, said his company is the frontrunner to set up and manage Nigeria’s new national carrier, Nigeria Air.

Gebremariam made this known on Friday at a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city.

He said his airline belongs to a small group of investors interested in establishing the national carrier.

“We are among a small group with an interest in establishing a national carrier (in Nigeria)… we do not know the results (of the tender), though we are frontrunners,” Gebremariam told Reuters at the event.

Recall that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had, last month, unveiled the new national at the Farnborough International Public Airshow in London, United Kingdom.

“It is a business, not a social service. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this

“Though, you need that initial government financial to make it take off, but what is important is that the national carrier will be entirely private sector controlled.

“There will be zero government interference. But if that happens, it invalidates the certificate (Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the establishment of the airline) and the entire process,” he said.

In July, Gebremariam had disclosed that the Ethiopian Airlines was interested in the Nigerian project.

Ethiopian Airlines, the only consistently profitable carrier in Africa, serves about 70 global cities and 60 across Africa from its hub in Addis Ababa with a fleet of over 100 aircraft.

The air company already owns stakes in carriers in Malawi and Togo and is seeking to establish holdings in Zambia, Chad, Mozambique, Guinea and Eritrea while helping to manage existing operators in Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Presently, the airline is ranked the largest carrier in African continent by revenue and profit, according to the International Air Transport Association.

 

Source: The Ripples

Ethiopian Airlines announced that it had taken delivery of the largest “B737 MAX 8’’ in Africa into its fleet.

In a statement, the Airline’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, said it was an immense achievement for the airline “to reach the milestone a few days after it colourfully marked its 100 fleet milestone’’.

GebreMariam said that the latest acquisition was an affirmation of the airline’s continuing pioneering role in African aviation and the successful implementation of its fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan – Vision 2025.

“Today, we are glad to include the B737 MAX 8, the latest in Boeing’s single-aisle series, in our young and modern fleet family with an average age of less than five years.

“As a customer-centric airline with a high adaptability to emerging technologies, we have been pioneering Africa’s aviation with latest-technology fleet throughout our 72 years history.

“In line with our growth targets under Vision 2025, we will keep on investing in further expansion of our fleet and in acquiring the latest aircraft the industry has to offer.

“The B737 MAX 8 features the new Boeing sky interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals LED lighting that enhanced the sense of spaciousness ultimately boosting customers’ experience.

“The environmentally-friendly aircraft has a minimal carbon-emission and consumes 15 per cent less fuel than the 737-NG,” he said

Also, Marty Bentrott, Boeing Sales Vice President for Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and Africa, said that with the delivery of the new ultra-modern aircraft, Ethiopian Airline’s fleet of Boeing airplanes had grown to 73 jets. He said that the fleet included the 787 Dreamliner, 777, 737 MAX and the 757 and 767 series.

Bentrott said that the airlines had continued to fly at the forefront of Africa’s commercial aviation industry by operating the most advanced airplanes.

“We are honoured by Ethiopian’s continuing confidence in Boeing airplanes and we look forward to growing our five-decade long partnership,” he said.

 

In Africa's battle for the skies, an east African carrier is stepping up its game in an effort to dominate the market. The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest carrier by number of passengers, according to FlightGlobal, has taken stakes in a raft of carriers across Africa and opened routes to new destinations, like Manchester, UK.
 
The expansion is part of the airline's 2025 Vision to become the leading aviation group in Africa, and increase the share of the market occupied by African airlines.
 
"Twenty percent of the market is carried by African airlines and 80% of the market is carried by non-African airlines," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. "The market share has been declining for the last 20 years."
 
Taking off
 
Ethiopian Airlines is looking to fend off competition from South African Airways, the largest carrier by number of flights, according to FlightGlobal, EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc and Kenya Airways.
 
Tewolde told CNN that Ethiopian Airlines are expanding into West Africa with Togolese airline ASKY Airlines. They're also doing business with Air Cote d'Ivoire, Congo Airways and have taken management of CEIBA International in Equatorial Guinea.
 
The airline has ambitious plans; Ethiopia is working with the Zambian government to relaunch their national carrier with a 45% stake, it also plans to establish a wholly-owned airline in Mozambique and has signed a contract to start an airline in Guinea. Ethiopian has also taken stakes in a Chadian airline.
"Typically, they're taking a minority stake or around 50%. They tend to go into these joint ventures with local partners," said Oliver Clark, senior reporter at FlightGlobal.
 
New routes
 
Ethiopian Airlines is launching new routes from Addis Ababa to Jakarta, Chicago and Geneva in the coming months. The airline is looking to make the Ethiopian capital a transport hub, connecting other African countries without long-haul capacity with continents around the world.
"It's trying to feed traffic from other African countries through Addis to then give them the connectivity to travel on to other continents, US, Europe and Asia in particular," Clark said.
 
In 2015, Africa accounted for only 3% of air passenger traffic, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. The growth of African airlines worldwide will seek to expand the number of travelers.
 
South: CNN
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