(CNN) — As the first airline outside Japan to own Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Ethiopian Airlines has an impressive business record despite the global economic crisis. Growing 20 to 30% a year for the past seven years, the airlines’ strategic plan is to carry 18 million passengers a year by 2025.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s CEO, says his company is cashing in on Ethiopia’s double-digits economic growth and its strategic location.

“If you draw a line through China, Africa, India and Brazil we are located right in the middle,” he says.

But the company’s future success depends on its ability to deal with Africa-specific pressures. Aviation infrastructure on the continent is lagging behind the rest of the world, and the lack of qualified pilots and technicians means airlines need to invest millions in education and training.

As the global airlines continue to suffer from high fuel prices and dropping numbers of passengers, GebreMariam remains confident about the future of the industry in Africa.

He sat down with CNN’s Jill Dougherty to talk about the company’s route to success. Read more

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