“Ethiopian is Africa’s largest and most profitable airline, earning more than its rivals on the continent combined. Its expansion has been rapid: by 2015 it served 82 international destinations, with 13 more added this year. According to unaudited figures, it nearly doubled its profits in the last financial year” says the Economist.
According to the International Air Transport Association, African carriers are likely collectively to record a net loss of $500m this year.
Kenya Airways and South Africa’s national carrier have been declaring losses every year, and constantly saved by government input.
Ethiopian airlines took advantage of the location and located to China and Asia plus Brazil while other African airlines were still fixated on Europe routes.
“In 1973 it was the first African carrier to fly to China. Today a bustling Chinese transit counter at Addis Ababa’s Bole airport testifies to the importance the company attaches to the market” says the report by the Economist
In addition Ethiopian airlines reduced flights to small African towns with small numbers in favour of busy routes.
Although Ethiopian airlines is state owned which helps in keeping its costs low it acts as international firm taking no state subsidies and management has tried to be independent from politics.
Ethiopian airlines is targeting being the first pan-African airline with new hubs in Togo, Malawi and teaming up with smaller airplane rivals however Middle Eastern rivals such as Qatar Airways are also expanding in Africa.