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Is Ethiopian The Best Managed Airline In Africa?  
User currently offlineg500 From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 1004 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9559 times:
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I suppose there are a few world class airlines in the African Continent: Kenya Airways, South African, Air Austral, Taag Angola, Air Mauritius and Ethiopian.. Is Ethiopian the best managed airline in the African continent?

Seems to me that as far as profits and potential, Ehtiopian could top South African these days even though South Africa's economy is much larger than Ethiopia's

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineolddominion727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 393 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 9383 times:

I think SA is over ET. SA is in *A too

User currently offlineN809FR From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 182 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 9239 times:

I do believe ET has the most potential, I am not sure if I would say they are the best managed as of right now. Certainly SA has had a huge decline over the last 5 years or so. As such, I think SA is the only real competition for that title right now, and it is hard to say SA is well managed.

User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 9208 times:

Yes. Their management has a vision, and knows what it is doing.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineweebie From Australia, joined Dec 2009, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9134 times:

no SAA is one of the best run airlines in the world. It's probably better run than any airline in North America.

User currently offlinesmi0006 From Australia, joined Jan 2008, 1541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9018 times:

How is KQ doing? I know they have take a traffic hit recently but I thought they had some big plans of their own.

I could see ET doing well if we some Gulf or Chinese investment in ADD airport infrastructure, I am doubtful if it could be funded locally privately or by the government.


User currently offlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2762 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 8968 times:

Please apologize my ignorance, I am working in Middle East / North Africa and not so familiar with that region. How comes they are doing so well? I mean, since the average income in Ethiopia is still low I wouldn't expect a huge O&D market in Ethopia. I know there are a lot of development programmes financed by the usual international donors but I think this creates only a small part of the traffic.

I am just curious because when I grew up I would have never expected to see the national airline of Ethiopia flying the most modern passenger jet shortly after the launch customer and therefore a brief reply would be highly appreciated.

PS.: did you know that Bob Geldorf initially had written "and there won't be snow in Ethiopia this Christmas Time" but his co-writer Midge Ure came to the conclusion that this is very difficult to sing (just try it) so he replaced Ethiopia with Africa.


User currently offlineEI912 From Ireland, joined May 2012, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8788 times:

I think MS could also be added to this discussion? They might not be the best managed in Africa but they're up near the top in any case.

User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8655 times:

Quoting smi0006 (Reply 5):
How is KQ doing? I know they have take a traffic hit recently but I thought they had some big plans of their own

This was the first carrier I thought of when I started reading this thread, KQ has ties in with KL/AF and IIRC, there is another commuter line in Tanzania/Kenya (Precision air?) that I thought was also tied in tight with KQ. I had a much larger than average percentage of travellers to JRO while working in San Francisco, as we did the air travel for one of the best mountain climbing companies here in the USA, based in Seattle that had their Mountain trekking clients booking their air with us.

People going to and from Arusha almost always flew SA)">NW/KL to Europe then connect to the AMS-JRO flight on KL.
If they wanted any deviations to see other things while over there, then we booked lots of KQ/PW flights, I have always thought given even the bulk rate fares in this market, another carrier would do well flying to JRO, Condor did 1x weekly at some point in the past.

Quoting EI912 (Reply 7):
I think MS could also be added to this discussion? They might not be the best managed in Africa but they're up near the top in any case

This was my second thought carrier after KQ, MS has been doing it pretty well for many years and is flying 777's once Egypt's unrest and subsequent damage repaired, I'm hoping people flock once again to help springboard their economy by providing much welcomed tourism dollars.

IMHO, there are 5 top African Airlines SA, KQ, ET, MS and RAM



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User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8655 times:

I believe Comair of South Africa is better run than the suggested flag carriers. It was established in 1946 and successfully operates both full service (British Airways) and low cost (Kulula). Any privately run airline that has been around for over 60 years must be doing something right. The airline has been consistently profitable, despite operating in an environment where it's main competitor (SAA) has been bailed out on numerous occasions and many other competitors have gone bankrupt.

Having flown on both the Kulula and BA operations, I can attest to the high standards of both.



What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8598 times:

Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 9):
I believe Comair of South Africa is better run than the suggested flag carriers. It was established in 1946 and successfully operates both full service (British Airways) and low cost (Kulula). Any privately run airline that has been around for over 60 years must be doing something right. The airline has been consistently profitable, despite operating in an environment where it's main competitor (SAA) has been bailed out on numerous occasions and many other competitors have gone bankrupt.

Having flown on both the Kulula and BA operations, I can attest to the high standards of both


I for one forgot to include ComAir. I did not know their longevity, but booked many a passenger on them. Do they fly 734's, or have they upgraded since 2005-2007?



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User currently offlineSepulTALLICA From Niger, joined Sep 2009, 231 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8543 times:

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 1):
I think SA is over ET. SA is in *A too
Quoting weebie (Reply 4):
no SAA is one of the best run airlines in the world. It's probably better run than any airline in North America.

Really? With constant government bail outs, - the latest being a "request" for USD$750million - do you really think SAA is one of the best? Its sister airline SA Express had its entire board axed 2 weeks back because of a USD$120million accounting hole - was anyone prosecuted? Nyet. Excellent governance there.

Were it not for the SA government and its constant propping up of SAA, their own incompetence would have sunk them long ago.

ET, KQ and BA Comair have proven their worth through long term vision and prudent expansion, though overall KQ gets my vote as their playing field is far more open and competitive than ET's.



Chinokanganwa idemo; Chitsiga hachikanganwe. ✈
User currently offlineweebie From Australia, joined Dec 2009, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8528 times:

Comair is domestic, Ethiopian and Kenya In my opinion are not in same league as SAA

User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8482 times:

Quoting weebie (Reply 12):
Comair is domestic, Ethiopian and Kenya In my opinion are not in same league as SAA

I see SA and QF in the same boat, they both have a beautiful land to call home, There is a great journey between their home countries and their largest markets. They both have had to plan their fleets with extra long haul in mind, and they have both pioneered aviation in their region and across the globe. Obviously the type of flying that is in demand is also not able to keep either carrier from financial troubles. I know there is more to it than just that, but these 2 carriers so share the same struggles because of their geography.



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User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8437 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8437 times:
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Quoting weebie (Reply 4):
no SAA is one of the best run airlines in the world. It's probably better run than any airline in North America.
Quoting SepulTALLICA (Reply 11):
Really? With constant government bail outs, - the latest being a "request" for USD$750million - do you really think SAA is one of the best? Its sister airline SA Express had its entire board axed 2 weeks back because of a USD$120million accounting hole - was anyone prosecuted? Nyet. Excellent governance there.

SAA is a decent airline but its Government has its hand in its affairs.

Ethiopian is an airline which has always been good among African airlines, even when its country was run by dictators. It had 767 30 years ago.

Many African airlines have improved, Kenya and TAAG among them. Its amazing what a 777 will do for an airlines reputation as both TAAG and Kenya are 777 users.


User currently offlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2762 posts, RR: 25
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8362 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 14):
Its amazing what a 777 will do for an airlines reputation as both TAAG and Kenya are 777 users.

With all due respect and of course we all know from your user name that you are a huge 777-fan. However, do you really think that particular aircraft type has an influence on their reputation?

Of course it's good to know that an african airline is using a modern and efficient airplane. However, I doubt that the fact that they are T7-operators has a significant influence on their reputation (see SA without a 777).


User currently offlinejumpjets From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 855 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 8326 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 14):
Ethiopian is an airline which has always been good among African airlines, even when its country was run by dictators. It had 767 30 years ago.

Indeed they did - my first ever long haul flight was with ET LHR-FRA-FCO-ADD on a B767 in 1984 [or maybe 1985]. Even allowing for my relative lack of flying experience at the time I was impressed with their service both on the ground and in the air.


User currently offlineg500 From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 1004 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 8256 times:
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Quoting weebie (Reply 4):
no SAA is one of the best run airlines in the world. It's probably better run than any airline in North America

South African has been bailed out by their government, haven't they? I flew South African once, excellent operation. Haven't flown Ethiopian


User currently offlineSepulTALLICA From Niger, joined Sep 2009, 231 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 8207 times:

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 15):
With all due respect and of course we all know from your user name that you are a huge 777-fan. However, do you really think that particular aircraft type has an influence on their reputation?

Of course it's good to know that an african airline is using a modern and efficient airplane. However, I doubt that the fact that they are T7-operators has a significant influence on their reputation (see SA without a 777).

What this guy said^.

For the record we aren't talking about quality of service, we're discussing Management (Thread title: "Is Ethiopian The Best Managed Airline In Africa? ").

Regardless of how many awards an airline has won for its cattle class feeding-trough food quality or how comfy their first class seats are, what matters at the end of the day is their financial bottom line which is directly related to how well the airline is managed.

TAAG, SAA, Royal Air Maroc, Air Austral etc may have relatively modern fleets and may rank high up there on the SkyTrax Quality Assurance system, but they are NOT examples of airlines that are well run. TAAG is heavily dependent on Angolan government funding as are SAA, RAM and numerous others. When they make a pigs breakfast of their financial year, instead of taking it on the chin and learning from the experience, they simply go squirming to government demanding a bailout who more often than not, oblige. All that does, is to perpetuate a culture of indifference and incompetence in a continent where those two vices are sadly very commonplace on parastatal boards.

An example of a well run airline in Africa, that literally started off from scratch (well, as a crop duster company) is Tanzania's Precision Air who have grown their company from practically nothing (despite massive undercutting by Air Tanzania who ironically are now grounded) and have managed to start a decent sized regional network. Rwanda's RwandAir is also a good example; they have built up their tiny carrier into a formidable regional force by making prudent steps and without going the "Bling Bling" route (starting flights to Paris, New York etc and ultimately winding up bankrupt) like so many other failed African carriers have.

Anyway, back to the original point, ET is one of the few government-protected entities in Africa (if not the world) that has actual gotten off its ass and made use of its leg up in life. As other posters here have mentioned, even during the times of The Derg (Mengistu Haile Mariam's communist regime that pretty much reduced the entire country to grinding poverty, and subjected the rest of the world to an onslaught of dreadful 80s pop ballads) ET still thrived.

The test of any company's real long term viability, not necessarily an airline, is not how well it fairs in good weather, but how it survives when times are tough and the economy weak. If even then it can turn a profit, then they know they are doing something right.



Chinokanganwa idemo; Chitsiga hachikanganwe. ✈
User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7588 times:

ET was actually founded by TWA and the professional management culture that TWA instilled stuck around despite the TWA departure and government instability. Also, ET for decades was the only carrier that actually flew between African countries...most African carriers focused on connecting their country with their former colonizer not on regional connections.

User currently offlinethegreatRDU From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2310 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7545 times:

Most of these airlines mentioned already are or have been on the government dole.....and that doesn't count!!   


I say Comair of South Africa.



Our Returning Champion
User currently offlineETinCaribe From Ethiopia, joined Dec 2009, 738 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7155 times:

I am obviously biased (and won't try to hide that) but I cannot say if ET is the best managed airline since I don't know all the others. Safe to say it is one of the best run ones though. ET was complacent in the late 90s and early 2000s; KQ is the best thing that happened to it to wake them up. Seems like they have their act together once again.

I don't ET cares too much whether they are perceived as being the best run airline, they are too busy executing on their plans and making $$$.

I would also add RwandaAir to the list; they have made impressive strides in the past few years.

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 14):
Its amazing what a 777 will do for an airlines reputation as both TAAG and Kenya are 777 users.

If it was only that simple...


User currently offlinesq_ek_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1641 posts, RR: 20
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6596 times:

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 1):
I think SA is over ET. SA is in *A too

Um. ET is a member of Star as well.



Keep Discovering
User currently offlineairzim From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2001, 1221 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6435 times:

Having worked with both carriers over several years in the late 90's and early 2000's, ET wins the crown hands down. Has has been stated, they were the first to successfully hub in Africa. They were the first (and for years) only way to travel East/West within Africa without having to fly through Europe or JNB. They maintained a modern fleet with a near perfect safety record. While not at the service league of their East Asian contemporaries, they manage to have a highly consistent and reliable product. Considering that they cannot rely on tourism, ethnic travel, nor a significant business market to fall back on, they've done a stunning job over the last 30 years.

SAA, had managerially been a mess.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8437 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6399 times:
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Quoting N14AZ (Reply 15):
With all due respect and of course we all know from your user name that you are a huge 777-fan. However, do you really think that particular aircraft type has an influence on their reputation?
Quoting ETinCaribe (Reply 21):
Its amazing what a 777 will do for an airlines reputation as both TAAG and Kenya are 777 users.

If it was only that simple...

Its NOT so simple sir. However they are NOT flying A330, they choose 777 so they could go to China from Africa which is a hell of a long way even from eastern African cities like Nairobi. Kenya Airways got its "expertise" from KLM. I don't know who helped out TAAG but they are on their second 777 order.


25 nomadd22 : For the record, how can you evaluate management without talking about quality of service? That, financial performance and vision are what makes up qu
26 LHCVG : So to what extent do the above-mentioned carriers directly compete with one another? I'm curious, because from where I sit it seems like there are som
27 Viscount724 : Strongly disagree. The government doesn't know what to do with SAA. They recently hired a consultant to make recommendations on SAA's future as they
28 motorhussy : This may be your opinion about SA, but I'm not sure you're aware how often the airline's commercial decisions are compromised by political interferen
29 g500 : good post That's the reason I started this thread... I've been wondering how ET is so succesfull, ordering 777s and 787s and expanding, when the coun
30 Post contains links and images SepulTALLICA : Yeaaaah, Sort of. What you need to keep in mind is that the Eurozone crisis and global oil prices have forced alot of these African carriers to look
31 LHCVG : Thanks for the detail! Some pretty interesting insight
32 Mortyman : They are both in * Alliance as is Egypt Air
33 AwysBSB : ET does really shows signs of being proactive. It plans to launch an atypical route to GRU in an attempt to get the same benefits of TK, EK and QR on
34 Post contains images Amexair : Well nowadays, it comes to a major surprise to all of us that the country's image in the West being synonymous with famine. Over the past decade or s
35 VV701 : Here the important words are "consistently profitable". Although it lost money in the second half of 2011 I believe Comair has been profitable in eac
36 Post contains links SepulTALLICA : Are you sure man? I have seen a route request by Comair Holdings (i.e Ba Comair & Kulula) to apply for a 14x weekly JNB - MPM route once more, st
37 RyanairGuru : You mean those poorly run airlines like WN, AS, DL and (yes, despite their labor issues) US? Right, I understand now
38 Post contains links VV701 : Yes. From the Comair press release of 31 January 2012: 'Route reviews and rationalisation to ensure contribution to profitability have seen Comair ca
39 SepulTALLICA : Thanks a bunch VV! Lanseria has proven to be a tough hub to operate out of - even 1Time has bailed on it in favour of JNB.
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