Ethiopian Airlines is on track to helping at least four African countries launch their own national flyers as it expands on the continent, while it closest regional competitors are faced with financial woes that have hurt their attractiveness.
Bloomberg reported that through its holding company, Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, the East Africa’s largest carrier by revenue is considering proposal from Nigeria, Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to help them set up national airlines.
Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive, told Bloomberg in an interview that they have shown “a strong expression of interest” in the proposals.
“As soon as the process allows then we will submit a business proposal,” Gebremariam said.
His airline already has stakes in Malawian Airlines and ASKY Airlines of Togo.
The airline, which plans to quadruple its annual revenue to $10 billion in 10 years according to the Bloomberg report, is face stiff competition from it regional rivals South African Airways and Kenya Airways in expanding routes across Africa to tap a growing demand for travel within the continent.
The other two airlines have, however, been left out of partnership deals with African countries due to the financial difficulties they are currently undergoing.
Loss making South African Airways, a state-controlled entity that is seeking a hub in West Africa, financial woes have gotten worse this year, despite a couples of bail outs from the government.
On the other hand, Kenya Airways has come into some heavy headwind in recent years amidst an ambitious fleet expansion plan, forcing it to register heavy losses in the last two financial years. The airline hopes to benefit from falling fuel prices globally this year.