What Open Skies Means to Ethiopia

Southwest Airlines

OPINION

Addis Ababa – Open skies could provide much to Ethiopia, in terms of jobs and real economic benefits, argues Solomon Gizaw, managing director of Abyssinian Flight Services. Aviation policies ought to promote more competition, not less, he reflects.

Once upon a time, in a country called the United States, there were three major airlines – Braniff, Texas International and Continental Airlines – that ganged up and tried to stop a yet to be established airline called Southwest Airlines, citing that there was no need for a new carrier in Texas. After a long and frustrating court tussle, and many failed verdicts in the lower courts, the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court. Southwest Airlines was able to win a major victory and started flying four years after it was established.

The court decision, which rewarded Southwest the victory, was bittersweet, as the new aspiring airline was left with 142 dollars in the bank and a ledger deeply in the red from overdue bills from the unnecessary court battle that tried to thwart its existence even before it began operations.

Fast forward 43 years to look at Southwest Airlines’ success, from which we, Ethiopians, could learn the advantages of thinking outside the box. This is especially true as we adopt and consider the many advantages of a liberal and open sky aviation policy that could put our country on the right track as a leader in the aviation business. No doubt that this is truer even as we generate billions of dollars for the Ethiopian economy and create a much needed professional aviation force.

Read more at: Addis Fortune

 

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