Ethiopian Airlines የኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ; የኢትዮጵያ in short), formerly Ethiopian Air Lines, often referred to as simply Ethiopian, is an airline headquartered on the grounds of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[1] It serves as the country's flag carrier, and is wholly owned by the Government of Ethiopia.[1][2] From its hub in Bole International Airport the airline serves a network of 62 international destinations and 16 domestic ones. The carrier flies to more destinations in Africa than any other airline.[2][3] Likewise, it is one of the few Sub-Saharan profitable airlines,[2][4] as well as one the fastest growing airlines in the industry.[5][6] The airline's cargo division has been awarded The African Cargo Airline of the Year in early 2011.[5][6][7]

Template:As of, the airline is a Star Alliance member, the 28th overall worldwide, and the third African-based carrier, along with EgyptAir and South African Airways.[8][9][10] Ethiopian is also a member of the International Air Transport Association, and of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) since 1968.[11]


File:Ethiopian Airlines Douglas DC-3 Hanuise.jpg
File:Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 727-200Adv ET-AHL ADE 1992-1-11.png
File:Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757-200 ET-AJX DXB 2004-4-26.png

After the liberation of Ethiopia from the Italian occupation, Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie I asked the Americans, British and French to assist him in establishing a new airline, in an attempt to modernise the country. According to the BBC News, some say the Emperor envisioned the creation of a quality national airline to shake off the poverty-stricken image Ethiopia had at that time.[2] Americans believed the country could become an important hub for air traffic into the Red Sea region and its surroundings,[12] and agreed to help the Emperor.

The carrier was eventually founded as Ethiopian Air Lines on Template:Date, with aid from both Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express, which later merged into TWA.[1][12][13] The airline relied upon American pilots, technicians, administrators and accountants;[12] it even had TWA General Managers.[14] On its 25th anniversary in 1971, the company was ready to continue without foreign assistance. Since then, Ethiopian Airlines was managed and staffed by Ethiopian personnel. The first Ethiopian General Manager was Col. Semret Medhane,[15] who served in this position for the period 1971-1975.[12]

The newly airline commenced operations on Template:Date.[1][13] Its maiden flight operated the Addis Ababa–Asmara–Cairo route using one of the five Douglas C-47 Skytrains acquired from the US Government.[15] This route was later operated on a weekly basis.[15] The Skytrains were initially intended for military use. Ethiopian operated them in a mixed passenger-cargo configuration. It was therefore a common practice for the company to accommodate both passengers and cargo in the same cabin during the early years.[16][17]

Soon afterwards, the carrier launched services to Aden and Djibouti, as well as a domestic flight to Jimma.[15] By the end of 1946, four Skytrains were incorporated into the fleet, and three more in 1947 to operate new international routes.[15] Bombay, Nairobi and Port Sudan were added to the route network as international scheduled services in the late 1940s.[15] Likewise, the company started operating charter flights to Jeddah during the Hajj season.[15]

In 1950, a Template:US$ loan granted from the Ex-Im Bank enabled the carrier to incorporate Convair CV-240s, aimed at operating international routes; starting Template:Start date, these aircraft were deployed on the Addis Ababa–Cairo, Addis Ababa–Nairobi, and Addis Ababa–Jeddah–Dhahran–Karachi routes.[15][18][19] In Template:Start date, the airline was appointed general sales agent for TWA in Kenya, Tanganyka, Uganda and Zanzibar, and by May the same year the fleet consisted of two Convair-Liner 240s and nine Douglas DC-3s or their subtypes, operating a route network 7,000 miles (11,000 km) long.[20][21] In early 1957, another Template:GBP million loan, obtained from the Ex-Im Bank in 1955, was partly used to acquire Douglas DC-6Bs.[22][23] The same year, Ethiopian inaugurated a self-owned maintenance facility.[15] In 1958, Athens was added to the route network, followed by the long-haul route to Frankfurt that was served with the newly delivered DC-6Bs.[24][25]

In the early 1960s the airline added Accra, Khartoum and Monrovia to its destination network. It was also decided to build a new airport to replace the Lidetta airfield, unable to accommodate the Boeing 720 jetliner the company intended to acquire.[26] This was the birth of Bole International Airport, where the company set its headquarters.[15] The first jet service was inaugurated in 1963 operating the Addis Ababa–Nairobi route.[15] Athens and Madrid were also incorporated as international scheduled services. The firm changed from a corporation to a share company in 1965, and it also changed its name from Ethiopian Air Lines to Ethiopian Airlines. Also in the early 1960s, the carrier provided some initial aviation support to the Ethiopia-United States Mapping Mission in its operation to acquire topographic maps of Ethiopia.[27]

Two Boeing 720Bs were acquired from Continental Airlines in 1973.[28] The late 1970s saw the arrival of the Boeing 727s as a replacement for the oldest Boeing 720s.[15] The DHC-5 Buffalo entered Ethiopian's fleet in the early 1980s.[15] In 1984 the Boeing 767-200ER also came to replace the Boeing 720.[15] ATR-42s and Twin Otters were incorporated into the fleet in the mid-1980s.[15]

By 1996 the airline was flying to Bangkok, Beijing, Durban and Johannesburg; routes to Ivory Coast and Senegal were also being operated. Furthermore, the Fokker 50 entered the fleet to operate domestic routes.[15] In the late 1990s the carrier saw the incorporation of Copenhagen and Maputo to its international network, as well as New York and Washington as transatlantic destinations; the frequent flyer programme, named "Sheba Miles" after the legendary Queen of Sheba, was launched too.[15] The airline disrupted its flights to the Eritrean capital Asmara after a war erupted between the two countries in 1998.

A fleet renewal started in the early 2000s, with the incorporation of the Boeing 737-700 and the Boeing 767-300ER;[29] in the late 2000s the airline announced it would be the launch customer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and placed orders to acquire brand new Airbus A350-900s, Boeing 777-200LRs and Bombardier equipment.[15]

On September 29, 2010 Ethiopian Airlines was officially invited to join Star Alliance. The airline will be the 30th overall member airline and the third airline in Africa. The integration process is expected to take 12 months.[30]

Corporate affairsEdit

Head officeEdit

The company plans to build a new head office in order to replace the current one. Despite holding a contest for a design of a new head office facility in 2009, the airline decided not to advance with any of those plans. On February 16, 2011 it held a second round. In September 2011, it was announced that BET Architect Plc won the contest. The airline stated that the estimated Br300 million complex will be constructed on a 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft) plot at Bole International Airport. The company that received the 4th place in the competition's second round threatened to take legal actions, accusing the airline of not giving due consideration to the proposed design.[31]

Financial performanceEdit

The airline was featured by The Economist as an example of excellence in late 1987,[32] and economist Paul B. Henze recognized it in 2000 as being "one of the most reliable and profitable airlines in the Third World".[33] In 2007, Ethiopian Airlines provided basic pilot and aviation maintenance training to trainees from African countries including Chad, Djibouti, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania. Other training was given to employees of Kenya Airways, Air Zimbabwe, Bellview Airlines, Cape Verde Airlines and Air Madagascar.[34]

Ethiopian Airlines started “Vision 2010” in 2005 which aimed to increase passenger traffic to 3 million, revenue to Template:US$ billion and employees to 6,000 by 2010. During the fiscal year (FY) 2007/2008, the airline transported 2.5 million passengers and generated a revenue of Br9.2 billion (US$900 million) with a net profit of Br507 million (US$56 million) million).[35] During FY 2008/2009, Ethiopian transported 2.8 million passengers (12.3% increase y/y) and generated Br12.2 billion in revenue (US $980 million—a 32.8% increase y/y) with a net profit of Br1.345 billion (US $108 million—a 165% increase over the previous year). In the same period, Ethiopian hauled 101 thousand tons of cargo—a 38.4% increase over the previous year.[36] For FY 2009/2010, Ethiopian generated US $1.3 billion revenue and a net profit of US $118 million. By the year 2010 Ethiopian exceeded all goals set in “Vision 2010”.[37] These results were the best ever for then-64-year-old airline, and were attributed to an aggressive marketing campaign and major cost cutting measures.[38] The company's net profit for the fiscal year ended Template:Date was Template:US$ million.[4] In Template:Start date, Ethiopian was named Africa's most profitable airline for the year 2010 by Air Transport World, and it has also been praised by AFRAA for its sustained profitability over the recent years.[4][39] It is 100%-owned by the Government of Ethiopia, and has 5,635 employees, Template:As of.[1]


Template:As of, the passenger network comprises 36 cities in Africa –seventeen of them within Ethiopia–, 8 in Europe and the Americas, and 15 in the Middle East and Asia. Likewise, the cargo network serves 12 destinations in Africa, 6 in the Middle East and Asia, and 2 in Europe.

Codeshare agreements and alliancesEdit

Ethiopian officially joined Star Alliance in Template:Start date.[10][40][41] Template:As of, the carrier has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (Star Alliance carriers are indicated by *):[1]

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Ethiopian Airlines and Lufthansa have closely linked their frequent flyer programmes Shebamiles and Miles & More,[55] allowing members to earn and spend miles on both airlines' networks.

In Template:Start date Ethiopian Airlines entered a strategic partnership with Lomé–based start–up airline ASKY Airlines in which Ethiopian holds a 40% stake.[56][57] Ethiopian Airlines is responsible for aircraft maintenance and operational management. The plan is to turn Lomé into Ethiopian Airline's regional hub for the West African market. ASKY started operations in January 2010 and became profitable after a few months.[58][59]


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On Template:Date, the first Boeing 767-200ER delivered to the company set a new distance record for a twinjet when it flew 7,500 miles (12,100 km) non-stop from Washington D.C. to Addis Ababa.[60][61]

In February 2005 Ethiopian Airlines signed a preliminary agreement to buy up to 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft (5 firm orders plus 5 options), becoming the first African carrier in ordering this kind of equipment.[2] On Template:Date Boeing announced that Ethiopian had exercised its purchase rights and confirmed a firm order for 10 aircraft.[62] The carrier also became the first African airline in ordering the Boeing 777-200LR.[2][63] The first 777 Ethiopian took possession of was the 900th model of this aircraft delivered by Boeing.[63][64]

In October 2011, the company announced an order for 4 Boeing 777Fs in a deal worth Template:US$ billion; the move positioned Ethiopian Airlines as the first African carrier in ordering the type.[65][66]

Template:As of, the Ethiopian Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft, with an average age of 9.7 years.[67][nb 1]

Ethiopian Airlines Fleet[68]
Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
P Y Total
Airbus A350-900 12 30 318 348 Expected EIS: 2017[69]
Boeing 737-700 5 16 102 118
Boeing 737-800 6 9 16 138 154
Boeing 757-200 3 16 144 160
1 154 170
2 155 171
1 159 175
Boeing 767-300ER 1 24 208 232
1 210 234
2 211 235
2 213 237
3 221 245
1 30 190 220
1 195 225
Boeing 777-200LR 5 34 287 321
Boeing 787-8 10 2 24 246 270 Expected EIS: March 2012[70][71]
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 8 5[nb 2] 78 78
7 64 71
Cargo Fleet
Boeing 747-200F 2 colspan="3" rowspan="4" Template:N/A
Boeing 757-200PCF 2
Boeing 777F 4
McDonnell Douglas MD-11F 2
Total 48 40 2


Aside from the equipment shown above, the airline uses a number of DA40NGs for training purposes.[73]

Historic fleetEdit

File:Ethiopian Airlines Fokker 50 ET-AKU ADD 2010-6-14.png

Following is a list of equipment previously operated by Ethiopian.[67] Helicopters and light aircraft were available for leasing to Government agencies as well as to be used on natural resources projects.[74]Template:Rp Template:Div col

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In-flight entertainmentEdit

There are two classes available, Cloud Nine and Economy Class, on most of Ethiopian Airlines' flights, with the exception of those operated with Dash 8 equipment, for some of these aircraft are configured in an all-economy layout. Under Skytrax's five-star ranking system, the carrier's in-flight service merits three stars.[77]

Cloud Nine

Ethiopian Airlines' First Class is named Cloud Nine. Passengers travelling in this class are provided with onboard amenities and a wide variety of reading material.[78] On routes operated with Boeing 777-200LR equipment (Beijing, Dubai, Rome, Washington, among others)[79] passengers are provided with sleeper seats and on-demand audio and video services, with 85 channels on 15.4 inch IFE screens.[80]

Economy Class

A variety of meals —ranging from light snacks to hot dishes— and amenities are provided to passengers flying on this class, both depending upon the length of the flight.[81] Reclining seats and on-demand audio and video, with 80 channels and 8.9-inched screens, are available on Boeing 777-200LR services.[80]


Ethiopian Airlines passengers are offered two lounges at Bole International Airport. Cloud Nine passengers can wait for the departure of flights at the Cloud Nine Lounge, where they are provided with a wide variety of amenities, as well as personal computers or wireless connection. Likewise, ShebaMiles cardholders with Gold or Silver status can make use of the Sheba Miles Lounge facilities. Customer Service agents are available at both lounges in order to assist passengers with any query regarding their flights.[82]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

Template:As of, Aviation Safety Network records 60 accident/incident events for Ethiopian Airlines since 1965,[83] plus 6 accidents/incidents for Ethiopian Air Lines,[84] the former airline's name. The company suffered several hijacking episodes throughout its history. One of them ended up with the carrier's deadliest accident when the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean due to fuel starvation. Despite this, Ethiopian Airlines has a good safety record,[85][86] by contrast to other African airlines.


The United States Federal Aviation Administration accredited the maintenance division with license No. ETIY 102F.[87][88]

See alsoEdit





  1. The fleet is actually younger, as these figures also include five phased-out Fokker 50s.
  2. Three of these aircraft will be leased-out to ASKY Airlines.[72]


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External linksEdit

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