Will Ethiopian Airlines Become New Emirates?

For a couple of years already Ethiopian Airlines is rapidly expanding and step by step entering the elite of aviation world. Currently, they are launching new routes and owns one of the newest fleets among airlines. What else have they prepared for us?

Ethiopian Airlines at the moment is unquestionably leading airline in Africa and can compete with many European airlines as an equal rival. During the last ten years, they increased the number of passengers four times and it is expected to hit 10 million this year.

In addition, they have one of the newest fleets in the world. It involves Airbus SE and Boeing Co. aircraft. For the first time in the history, an African airline can compete with the Middle East and European airlines in intercontinental skies.

Will Ethiopian Airlines Become New Emirates? Ethiopian Airlines Crew

Furthermore, Ethiopian Airlines has a new target – American market. Ths year they are opening a new route to Chicago. This is going to be their fifth destination in the US. The airline is not the first trying to connect North America and Africa continents, but pretty much the first one to do it successfully. At least until this moment. Virgin Atlantic has launched Virgin Nigeria Airways in 2005, however, had to shut down only 4 years later. 2 years ago the last United airlines have also stopped their flights between Houston and Lagos.

Currently, Delta Airlines is the only American airline in Africa operating flights to West and Southern Africa.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is feeling optimistic about Ethiopia‘s aviation politics and during his visit to the country stated that “Ethiopia is becoming a critical hub for intercontinental traffic for people traveling from the U.S.,” he also ads “I think this is going to promote a great deal of interest in Africa and in Ethiopia.”.

One more reason this state-owned airline is successful is that it is not run according to the usual model used by the governments. It is run as a private business. Zemedeneh Negatu, a CEO of US-based aviation consulting firm says „Many other African airlines are run like the personal fiefdom of the government of the time.“

In 2016 fiscal year, Ethiopian Airlines has reached a revenue of almost $2 billion and this allowed them to overtake their competitors such as Royal Air Maroc or Egypt Air.


Today it is impossible to tell what are the odds Ethiopian will reach the success of other major state-owned airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways or Turkish Airlines. But for sure they are on a right track so far.

In upcoming 30 years, Addis Ababa is expected to grow the number of consumers twice and hit 2.5 billion. Additionally, they are getting a lot of support from China. They have financed many changes in the airport and initiates upgrades. Meanwhile, in a soon future Ethiopian is about to open the new route to China - Shenzhen. This will be the fifth city served there by the airline.