BT: Ge­bre­Mariam:

Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

You’ve had a long ca­reer with Ethiopian Air­lines ris­ing through the ranks for a num­ber of years.

Yes, 30 years. I started early with the air­line as a cus­tomer ser­vice agent. I joined the air­line in 1984; I was 18 years old, right from school, I grew up in Ethiopian Air­lines. It’s the only company I know.

In that time how would you char­ac­ter­ize the changes you’ve see in the in­dus­try?

Oh, so many changes. When I joined the air­line years ago, com­pe­ti­tion was not per­haps as cut­throat as it is to­day. Fol­low­ing the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the US mar­ket, fol­lowed by Europe and the other mar­kets, that has changed tremen­dously the na­ture of the in­dus­try. And the other change, of course, is air­craft tech­nol­ogy, which has changed the way air­lines fly. In what way?

In the old days, Europe had the old­est and most suc­cess­ful hub and spoke avi­a­tion hub of the world. If you wanted to travel from South Amer­ica, North Amer­ica to Mid­dle East, Africa, Asia, Europe was the hub. But to­day, the Gulf car­ri­ers are chang­ing that, and the air­craft tech­nol­ogy has also changed that struc­ture.

How have you tapped into those changes at Ethiopian Air­lines in the past few years?

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