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Ethiopian Airlines Interview - English Summary

Erstellt von Martin Dichler.  Veröffentlicht am 02.06.2023

Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, CCO of Ethiopian Airlines. © Martin Dichler

On May 22, 2023, Ethiopian Airlines opened a new flight connection between Addis Ababa via Vienna and Copenhagen. ReiseInsider interviewed Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of the airline, to discuss the new route and the current developments of the largest African airline.

Next year, Ethiopian Airlines will be celebrating its tenth anniversary at Vienna Airport. When asked about their satisfaction with the connection, Lemma Yadecha Gudeta expressed excitement for the upcoming anniversary celebration and mentioned that they are very happy with their operations at Vienna Airport. They have received excellent support from Vienna Airport as a Star Alliance hub.

The expansion of the Addis-Vienna connection to Copenhagen was initiated on May 22nd. The CCO explained that Vienna Airport's geographical location and good connections make it an ideal hub for Ethiopian Airlines. When considering new routes, they prioritize the routes they can take, and it quickly became clear that routing the new connection to Copenhagen via Vienna was the best option.

As a non-EU airline, Ethiopian Airlines obtained route rights for the Vienna-Copenhagen connection. This step is crucial for the success of the connection as it provides them with Fifth Freedom Air Rights. With the support of the governments of Austria and Denmark, Ethiopian Airlines can utilize these rights, which contribute to the stability and economic viability of the flight, especially considering seasonal fluctuations.

Regarding the limitation of these flights to a specific period, the CCO mentioned that they are not currently considering offering a direct flight to Copenhagen. However, their next goal is to eventually provide a daily flight to Copenhagen via Vienna.

The interview also discussed the optimistic spirit in Europe with people's desire to travel again. Ethiopian Airlines has witnessed a strong increase in bookings and expects to surpass pre-pandemic passenger numbers and achieve higher sales this year.

When asked about potential new connections in Europe, the CCO mentioned interesting destinations like Dublin in Ireland and Warsaw in Poland. However, the availability of slots is currently a challenge, making it difficult to establish new routes. They hope that these problems will be resolved soon.

Regarding their "Vision 2035" strategy, Ethiopian Airlines recently initiated it after achieving their goals for the "Vision 2025" earlier than expected. The CCO believes that the further development of the strategy will proceed according to their plans over time.

In terms of aircraft acquisition for expansion, Ethiopian Airlines stated that they are on schedule with deliveries. On the day of the first flight to Copenhagen, they were receiving one of five new Boeing "Dreamliner" 787-9s in Addis Ababa. However, like many companies, their biggest challenge is finding enough staff.

Ethiopian Airlines has made investments in several African airlines and provided its expertise. These holdings are crucial for the airline as they strive to be close to the people and contribute to the African aviation industry. They have invested in airlines such as Malawi Airlines, Zambia Airways, Asky Airlines in Togo (serving 27 destinations), and are planning to launch Nigeria Air. Ethiopian Airlines aims to set up more hubs in Africa to enhance their expertise and proximity to passengers.

The long-term goal of "Vision 2035" is to increase Ethiopian Airlines' profits. The CCO mentioned the strong African community in Europe that frequently travels home to visit their families, along with the growing economic ties between Africa and Europe. Ethiopian Airlines anticipates benefiting from these circumstances with its extensive range of destinations and excellent product in the future.

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