Ethiopian Airlines is to partner with Kenya Airways (KQ) for joint procurement of aircraft equipment and lower cost of operation.
Commenting on the nature of the said partnership, African Union Commission (AUC) senior air transport expert Ngoe Ndoh said, bilateral arrangements will drive the partnership for the sake of fair competition, and that it will be enhanced by clear competition regulations. The partnership syncs well with AUC's call for open borders throughout Africa for business, trade and leisure travel.
Ethiopian's vice president for strategic planning and alliance, Henok Teferra, mentioning that this is important for survival in the airline industry, said, " African market is fragmented and this integration would be important to raise the market share to compete with Asia Pacific, Europe and America carriers at 50-50 per cent share." Mr. Henok added this is a way of increasing return in capital and obtaining a strategic position in African routes.
According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), African carriers have been able to get 7.5 per cent more traffic in 2017 compared to 2016. This is while the international passenger capacity has risen by less than half of the projected demand rate of 3.6 percent, resulting in a load factor jump of 2.5 per cent to 70.3 per cent. A similar report released in June showed that African carriers accounted for 20 per cent of the air travel in the continent while foreign airlines maintained a staggering 80 per cent share.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's largest carrier in terms of both revenue and profit, and also leading as a conduit for long-haul passengers to Africa, overtaking Dubai. It is also the fastest growing in the continent, increasing stakes in other airlines as well, and undergoing a robust expansion.
Source: The Star, Kenya