Ethiopian Airlines began operations in 1946 as a joint operation managed by the American carrier TWA, using World War II aircraft acquired from the U.S. military to transport passengers and cargo to Cairo and other nearby destinations. During the 1960s and 1970s, the government-owned airline expanded service across Africa and to several European and Asian capitals. Regular service to the United States began in 1998. In 2011, the airline became the third African carrier to join the Star Alliance.
Africa is a major part of the airline's aggressive growth plan for the next decade. Accepting the African Airline of the Year Award last month, Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam deplored the fact that non-African carriers account for 80 percent of the continent's passenger traffic and called for deregulation of the continent's skies. A career airline executive who has been CEO since the beginning of 2011, Tewolde
outlined his roadmap for rapid expansion in an interview with AllAfrica's Reed Kramer. Excerpts: