Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, has taken stakes in a number of other carriers across Africa and opened routes to new destinations. It’s also expanding its fleet with the acquisition of its 100th plane.
The expansion is part of the state-owned airline’s 2025 Vision to become the dominant aviation group in Africa and increase the share of the market occupied by African airlines. It has the largest fleet of any African airline, and the aviation intelligence group FlightGlobal says it now also has the most passengers each year, passing EgyptAir, South African Airways and Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc.
The International Air Transportation Association says Ethiopian generated revenue of $2.71 billion in 2016-2017, with a net profit of $232 million. The news group AIN Publications says that as part of an effort to alleviate a foreign currency crunch, Ethiopia plans to partially privatize the airline in the future.
Ethiopian is expanding into West Africa with Togolese airline ASKY Airlines. It also is partnering with Air Côte d’Ivoire and Congo Airways. It is working with the Zambian government to relaunch its national carrier with a 45 percent stake, and it plans to establish a wholly owned airline in Mozambique. It has a stake in an airline in Chad and has plans to start an airline in Guinea.
“Typically, they’re taking a minority stake, or around 50 percent,” Oliver Clark, a senior reporter at FlightGlobal, told CNN. “They tend to go into these joint ventures with local partners.”
The airline acquired its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-900, in June 2018 and says that the average age of its planes is less than 5 years old. The airline has ordered five more Boeing planes, along with 16 Airbus A350 planes.
The airline continues to add countries to its routes, the latest being Spain and Indonesia.