MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) was founded in 1945. The carrier was established following the liberation of Ethiopia in 1941.
Emperor Haile Selassie I, planned to modernize. One of his first steps was to set up an airline with the help of the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
With Trans World Airlines (TWA) on hand to offer their expertise, operations commenced on April 8, 1946, from Addis Ababa-Asmara-Cairo. The US government had provided the airline with five war surplus Douglas C-47 Skytrains.
Its first international flights began in 1951 after two Convair CV-240s joined the fleet. Douglas DC-6s followed in 1956 and this allowed for further expansion. ET entered the jet-age when it received a pair of Boeing 720Bs in December 1962.
In 1982, it became the first airline in Africa to order the Boeing 767. The type’s arrival opened up new opportunities for the airline with a swathe of new long-haul routes added to the network.
The 1990s and 2000s saw ET attempt to become an industry leader in African aviation. The plan was to make Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) into a hub, grow passenger numbers, and modernize its fleet.
In February 2005, ET ordered Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliners’ to become the African launch customer for the type and the second in the world to place the Dreamliner into service.
The flag carrier became a member of the Star Alliance on December 13, 2011. In recent years, ET has become the fastest growing and the largest airline in Africa.
Featured image: Ethiopian Airlines ET-ATJ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways