Ethiopian Airlines axes 11 employees for system abuse

ShebaMilesBy Asrat Seyoum

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopian Airlines has terminated eleven employees working in different departments citing violation of rules and procedures they were expected to abide by and abuse of the system that they had privileged access to. The decision to terminate the employees’ contract was reached in the course of the past few weeks after an intensive internal probe into the matter.

According to sources close to the matter, the alleged abuse of the system is connected to its frequent flyer program called ShebaMiles, whereby Ethiopian customers can accumulate miles that would result in awards of free tickets, gifts and privileges.

Sources indicated that the alleged wrongdoing was uncovered following a complaint by a customer enrolled in the ShebaMiles program regarding irregularities in the frequent flyer’s account. Following the complaint, the audit and quality assurance department of the airline conducted an investigation which exposed a network of people who have been manipulating accounts and the whole system in the ShebaMiles program for their personal benefit. The Public Relations Department of the airline confirmed to The Reporter that the 11 employees were terminated due to abuse of power and system but declined to comment further on the issue. However, sources also told The Reporter that Ethiopian has notified the proper authorities about the infringement and that currently the case is under review by the public prosecutor.

Under the ShebaMiles program Ethiopian customers are entitled to get more privileges the more they fly and the more they accumulate miles. Under the current program structure, there  are  three  tiers which include Blue, Silver and Gold. The number of Status Miles or sectors flown are determining factors to these membership levels. ShebaMiles program is also teamed up with other several airlines and non airline partners to broaden choices for members to accumulate miles.

Sheba Miles, which is named after the legendary Queen of Sheba, was launched in the late 1990s.