Ethiopian Airlines believes in Boeing. They have been a partner of ours for many years. More than two-thirds of our fleet is Boeing, said Tewolde GebreMariam Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines.
We were the first African airline to fly the 767, 757, 777-200LR, and we were the second nation in the world (after Japan) to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner. Less than a month ago, we took delivery of yet another new two 737 cargo planes (a different version from the one that crashed). The plane that crashed was less than five months old, Tewolde said in a statement.
Despite the tragedy, Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines will continue to be linked well into the future, Tewolde confirmed.
We also are proud of our association with U.S. aviation. The general public does not know that Ethiopian Airlines was founded in 1945 with help from Trans World Airlines (TWA). In the early years, our pilots, flight crews, mechanics and managers were actually employees of TWA.
In the 1960s, after the handoff, TWA continued in an advisory capacity, and we’ve continued to use American jets, American jet engines and American technology. Our mechanics are Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified.
Our first direct passenger service to the U.S. began in June 1998, and today we fly direct to Africa from Washington, Newark, Chicago and Los Angeles. This summer, we will begin flying from Houston. Our cargo flights connect in Miami, Los Angeles and New York.
U.S. travel to Africa has increased more than 10 percent in the last year, second only to travel to Europe in term of the percentage increase — traveling to Africa has increased more than traveling to Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, South America, Central America or the Caribbean. The future is bright, and Ethiopian Airlines will be here to meet the demand.
In less than a decade, Ethiopian Airlines has tripled the size of its fleet – we now have 113 Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier aircraft flying to 119 international destinations in five continents. We have one of the youngest fleets in the industry; our average fleet age is five years while the industry average is 12 years. Moreover, we have tripled the passenger volume, now flying more than 11 million passengers annually.
Each year, our Aviation Academy trains more than 2,000 pilots, flight attendants, maintenance workers and other employees for Ethiopian Airlines and several other African airlines. We are the company others turn to for aviation expertise. In the last 5 years, we have invested more than half a Billion dollars in training and other infrastructure in our Addis Ababa base.
We will work with investigators in Ethiopia, in the U.S. and elsewhere to figure out what went wrong with flight 302.
We resolve to work with Boeing and others to use this tragedy to make the skies safer for the world.