By Chinedu Eze
Ethiopia Airlines has been adjudged as the foreign carrier with the newest fleet of aircraft that operate into Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
This was disclosed by travel expert and the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko. He noted that the airline has given other carriers that operate to destinations in Africa competitive edge, adding that many passengers now switch over to the East Africa airline from legacy carriers because it maintains the state-of-the-art equipment that fly in the continent.
Uko was reacting to the introduction of the airline’s latest aircraft, Boeing B787-9 to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja when the flight airlifted 177 passengers to Nigeria’s capital city recently.
He remarked that Ethiopian is not only the most profitable airline in the region but it is the only African operator that is making significant efforts at wresting the African travel market from international operators that do not show strong commitment to the continent besides taking away passengers and generating revenue.
The new aircraft on arrival in Abuja was welcomed by the officers of the Airport Fire Service with the usual water cannon shower to mark the arrival of new aircraft to the airport.
Sales and Traffic Manager, Ethiopia Airlines, Mrs. Firiehiwot Mekonnen, said the new aircraft, which is a 315-seater comprising 30 business class and 285 economy seats, was the newest of Boeing aircraft in the world.
Mekonnen said the decision to fly the aircraft to Abuja was to give passengers the opportunity to experience the comfort of the new aircraft.
She said the aircraft was a month old in Ethiopian airlines’ fleet, adding that the aircraft would be flown to all its 100 destinations around the world.
“We flew in 27 passengers on business class and 150 on economy because we want our passengers to experience the comfort of the newest aircraft from Boeing, the 787. The B787-9 is part of its commitment to deliver exceptional level of service to the African market by operating the latest technologically advanced aircraft in the market. Ethiopian Airlines has always services Abuja with its newest Aircraft. It brought the Dreamliner B787 to Abuja in 2012 and reopened the Abuja Airport this year with the A350 when the Airport was reopened after 6 weeks closure,” she said.
The pilot of the aircraft, Capt Michael Yilma described the aircraft as the most economical in terms of fuel consumption and noise.
Yilma said that he was one of the first pilots to be trained on the aircraft, explaining that Ethiopian airline was the second to acquire the B787-9 after Japan.
He said that passengers had enjoyed the unique onboard features of the latest technology aircraft such as on-board comfort and aircraft with the biggest windows in the sky, high ceiling and less noise.
“And because I have been flying Boeing for five years now, I can say that this aircraft is the best so far. What makes it different from other aircraft is its noise level and it is very economical and the quality of the air in the cabin is superb. It is also more comfortable for passengers because the noise level is minimal and the quality of air they breathe in the cabin is also perfect,” he said.
NAHCO Promotes 800 Staff
Foremost national ground handling services provider, nahco aviance, has promoted over 846 out of its about 2000 workforce. The figure, according to the company, represents more than 45 percent of the company’s total workforce.
The promotion, which was approved by the Board of Directors, and announced over the weekend, was one of the staff improvement programmes by NAHCO Plc.
“The promotion which came against the background of an economy that is still in technical recession shows the importance that the Company places on its staff,” the company said.
In a statement announcing the promotion, the outgoing acting MD/ CEO, Mrs. Folashade Ode, said that the promotion exercise was based on well – defined criteria that ensured fairness and transparency and restated the company’s resolve to keep a happy and well-motivated workforce.
The statement said: “A more transparent, performance driven reward and compensation system will be put in place to improve our overall service quality with positive impact on our revenue and profitability.”
She urged all staff to reciprocate the Board’s kind gesture by rededicating themselves to their duties to further enhance the progress of NAHCO.
The company said the current promotion exercise came about two years after the Company promoted 390 staff. The last promotion carried out in September 2015 was widely applauded by the aviation unions and other stakeholders who urged other operators in the industry to emulate NAHCO’s commendable welfare policies.
“Only in July this year, the Company effected salary increment with some staff getting as much as 15 percent increase in their salaries,” the statement also said.
Ode welcomed the incoming MD/ CEO NAHCO Plc, Mr. Idris Yakubu. “Ode will formally hand over to Yakubu on November 20, 2017, after which she would revert to her portfolio of acting MD/ CEO of NAHCO EPI,” the company said.