My first choice for air travel in Africa is with Ethiopian Airlines. I’ve had the good fortune to work a lot with the airline and experience their service firsthand. The company has a long history that started with TWA. They have continued to be on the leading edge management,Guest Posting performance, service and fleet modernization since. They are one of the first to order the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” and the airport at ADD is the most modern and well-managed in Africa taking it’s design from Atlanta’s Hartsfield. What this means to the traveler is safe, courteous, comfortable service with efficient baggage transfer and on-time performance to meet connections. With an extensive worldwide network this also means connections throughout Africa, Europe and Middle East. ET has flights from IAD to FCO (Washington to Rome) en route to Addis Ababa and this can oftentimes be a less expensive than European and U.S. carriers to get to the continent.
Below is a brief history of the airline:
8th April 1946:
The first scheduled flight took place to Cairo via Asmara airline CIO consultant in Douglas C-47 Skytrain. The national airline had been set up a few months earlier as Ethiopian Air Lines Inc., a joint venture with American airline, TWA (Trans World Airlines). Five US Government surplus C-47 aircraft were purchased for venture. Following the successful inaugural flight to Cairo, a regular weekly service was established. Weekly services to Djibouti and Aden followed, as well as a domestic service to Jimma. Demands for additional services were so great that towards the end of 1946, four more C-47 Skytrains were purchased. Since these aircraft were ex-US military, they had few comforts; all had folding bench-type canvas seats along the sides, with the central aisle kept clear so that cargo could be lashed to the floor.
Three more Skytrains were purchased for the international routes. These were fitted out in a `luxury’ layout with 21 forward facing seats and were the first to wear the colorful Ethiopian Airlines livery.
During the late 1940s the route network was extended to Nairobi, Port Sudan and Bombay. Charter flights were also flown to Jeddah during the Hajj season, carrying pilgrims to Makkah.
Two Convair 240 aircraft were purchased, followed later by a third, for use on foreign routes. These higher-performance aircraft had fully furnished interiors and seats for 36 passengers. Their pressurized cabins allowed the aircraft to fly higher, in smoother air.
By the end of 1952 the faithful Skytrains were still the mainstay for the domestic routes, linking 21 towns and cities to the capital and carrying both passengers and cargo.
Three quarters of the airline’s staff were now Ethiopian but expatriates still held most key posts. The Ethiopian government negotiated and new agreement with TWA with ultimate aim of operating entirely with Ethiopian personnel.
The fist Ethiopian commercial aircraft commander, Alemayehu Abebe, made his solo flight as captain on DC-3/C-47 aircraft.
The National Airline Training Project was set up with US Government help in Addis Ababa to train local pilots, technicians and supervisory personnel.
The airline established its own maintenance facility at Addis Ababa, reducing the need for maintenance overseas. In subsequent years the facilities expanded into a well-equipped center for maintenance, overhaul and modification work on aircraft, engines and avionic systems, not only for its own aircraft, but also for other airlines in the region.