Ethiopian Airlines takes the honour of leading African carrier at Decade of Airline Excellence Awards

1 December 2020 | 10am | LONDON 2020. LONDON: Ethiopian Airlines has been recognised by the judges in the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards as Africa’s best-performing airline of the past 10 years. The carrier took the accolade in the African regional category of the Awards.

The full roster of awards, organised by FlightGlobal in association with Airline Business and Korn Ferry, are being announced over the 1-3 December.

Operating in an incredibly challenging region for airlines, state-owned Ethiopian evolved over the decade from a national carrier to the first true pan-African airline, based on a strategy that leveraged its hub in Addis Ababa and strategic equity investments in smaller national African operators.

“Under the leadership of Tewolde Gebremariam since 2011 – the year in which the carrier also joined the Star Alliance - Ethiopian’s core strategy has been underpinned by disciplined management and a productive relationship with its government owners,” said Lewis Harper, Managing Editor of Airline Business magazine.

Ethiopian Airlines dominated the discussion among judges when it came to the Africa award. 

“I think they are the outstanding airline in Africa by far,” one judge said, reflecting wider sentiment among the panel.

 “I particularly like Ethiopian’s involvement in economic development in the country,” said a judge.

All the while it deployed a modern fleet and progressive business approaches, leading to some impressive financial returns. It recorded an eight-fold increase in revenues and a six-fold rise in profitability over the decade.

“Their revenues have soared in what has been a particularly challenging market,” another judge remarked. 

By the end of the decade, the airline commanded the lion's share of the pan-African network, having overtaken Dubai as the biggest transfer hub for long-haul travel to Africa in 2018. The airline’s maturity shone through in its response, cementing its status as a rare example of an African carrier that sits comfortably alongside the world’s top airlines.

The winning airlines from each global region, in addition to the overall winner, are being announced over the 1-3 December. 

In addition to the winner from Africa, these include the winning airlines from North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Full details of all winners will be available at: 

About the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards

The Decade of Airline Excellence Awards was launched by FlightGlobal, Airline Business and the civil aviation practice of Korn Ferry, the largest human-capital solutions provider in the world, this year, in lieu of the Airline Strategy Awards, which will return in 2021. Winners are selected by an independent panel of industry experts.

With the industry facing so much near-term turmoil, the awards partners decided to take the opportunity to celebrate the best airline stories from the 2010-2019 decade prior to the current crisis – the most financially successful one in airline history, which brought air travel to new markets and catapulted issues such as sustainability to the forefront of strategic thinking. 

This one-off event celebrates compelling achievements since the financial crisis, recognising airlines and airline groups that had a lasting, positive effect on the industry within the 2010-2019 timeframe.                                                                                 

Key sponsors of the awards are Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, Embraer, Shannon Engine Support, Cirium and Eways Aviation. 

About FlightGlobal:

FlightGlobal provides information, news, conferences and recruitment to help people and businesses to learn more, network and grow in the aviation industry. With 111 years of aviation publishing, FlightGlobal is one of the industry’s leading news sources, including respected publications; Flight International, Airline Business, aviation event Dailies and A growing conferences program within the FlightGlobal portfolio is addressing key market issues and questions in aviation, and FlightJobs recruitment supports individuals throughout their career and enables organizations to find the best aviation talent. | LinkedIn | Twitter

About Airline Business:

As the premier monthly title for airline boardrooms worldwide, Airline Business covers the key strategic and business issues in the air transport industry. It was established in 1985 and has editorial offices in London, Washington DC and Singapore.

About Korn Ferry:

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. And, we help professionals navigate and advance their careers. Our 8,600 colleagues serve clients in more than 50 countries. We offer five core solutions.

• Organizational Strategy

• Assessment and Succession

• Talent Acquisition

• Leadership Development

• Rewards and Benefits 

Visit for more information.

Editorial contact: 
Lewis Harper
Managing Editor
Airline Business
+44 207 911 3105
Media contact: 
Amber Elias
Head of Digital Engagement & Development
+44 7816 991648