CEO: Ethiopian Airlines considers new routes, JV in Zambia

Tewolde GebremariamEthiopian Airlines is in talks with the Zambian government to establish a joint venture in Lusaka.

Speaking to ATW in Shenzhen, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said, “The new carrier will operate [Bombardier] Dash 8 Q400s and several [Boeing] 737s. We have to clarify the demand of aircraft; operations should start from one year’s time.” He said running an airline in Africa is challenging because “African carriers have only a 20% market share.”

Gebremariam also told ATW the carrier is considering launching new routes to Madrid, and more points in Africa, Singapore and China.

“Chongqing and Chengdu are on the list,” he said. “Our new Boeing 777-300ER, which will be delivered next year, will operate to Washington DC as well to Guangzhou.”

Gebremariam said China has the largest network for the carrier. It operates daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.

Ethiopian Airlines will open a new route from Bole to Sao Paulo Guarulhos in April via Lome where its subsidiary ASKY Airlines is based. The carrier has not yet decided which aircraft it will use on the route.

Gebremariam said the biggest challenges for the airline are infrastructure, regulations and oil prices. “A unique challenge for us is that fuel is even more expensive in Africa, sometimes twice as much as Europe,” he said.

Source: atwonline.com

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