By Eden Sahle –
In its over 70 years operation making its first journey to Cairo; Ethiopian airlines has come so far to cover 17 major cities in Europe and America, 25 countries in Asia while its largest fleet is in Africa covering 55 cities and fulfilling its dream of creating far-reaching pan-African network. It has made the continent connected within and beyond the continent.
Living up to its pioneering status, Ethiopian airlines has brought new technologies in the continent’s aviation industry from back in 1962. It introduced the first jet to the first African B787 Dreamliner in 2012, while its latest A350 XWB aircraft continues putting the airlines on the lead in the industry with aircraft technology. Serving 35 cargo destinations with an average carriage capacity of 650 tons, its erecting 1.2 million capacity cargo terminal flying to 37 cargo destinations. This aviation industry has a vital role to bring up sustainable development in Ethiopia.
The expansion of air transport is an important condition for the development of a more diversified economic base in the globe and for the growth of tourism in the country. The growth of the industry which comes from infrastructure development, increased mobility and cheaper air transport it will enhance living standards and reduce poverty reduction initiatives. It will also encourage more employment through more business coming to the airline and through tourism.
While there is a major opportunity to improve living standards and alleviate poverty through sustained economic growth, the combination of poverty and low skilled human power continue to poses formidable challenges to further developments.
Although infrastructure has been significantly improved with facilities and increased traffic in many Ethiopian destinations and beyond higher prices and limited destination coverage and access continue to be a challenge. On the other hand, high safety record of the Ethiopian airlines and improvements in the air transport infrastructure play a great role in bringing increasing revenues from international travellers complementing to policies that aim to improve living standards alleviating poverty.
The Ethiopian aviation industry is particularly important for Ethiopia that is heading towards promoting outward oriented development strategy in providing access to the global markets and facilitating inward investments. Implementing this better air services are especially important to landlocked Ethiopia not only supporting the country initiative to bring more investments and also more tourism from the world and from the African continent from its fleet destinations.
The development of air transport brings lucrative and eco-friendly sectors mainly of tourism and investment in the hospitality sector. Tourism accelerates poverty reduction missions by generating economic growth, offering employment opportunities to skilled and unskilled man power, increase tax collection as well as by fostering development and conservation of destinations.
Recently tourism has been identified as one of the main sectors for rapid economic development for Ethiopia. To maximize the development of the sector, the Ethiopian airlines has taken the initiative to boom the Ethiopian hospitality sector by promoting Ethiopian destinations during inflight journeys and flight destinations.
“The role of the aviation industry in creating jobs, encouraging trade and tourism, and improving investment opportunities is huge. The expansion of air services and the promotion of more diversified international trade and tourism, speedup economic development thus helping the country achieve middle income status by 2025,” Alexander Burtenshaw, country manager of Jumia Travel Ethiopia, said.
Source: All Africa