Ethiopian Airlines is looking to send off competition from South African Airways, the largest carrier by number of flights, according to FlightGlobal, EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc and Kenya Airways.
Tewolde said 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.
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.