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Ethiopian Airlines

Founded on December 30, 1945 with assistance from TWA, Ethiopian Airlines is the national airline of Ethiopia. The airline is based out of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines' IATA designation code is ET. Its ICAO designation is ETH.

Commencing operations with a weekly service between Addis Ababa and Cairo, the initial fleet consisted of five DC-3 propeller-driven aircraft in which passengers sat in the folding canvas seats along the sides of the fuselage.

Today, Ethiopian Airlines operates four 767-300s and one wide-bodied Boeing 767-200, which are used for long haul passenger services. Medium-range flights are covered by four Boeing 757s and two Boeing 737s. Five Fokker 50s, and three DHC Twin Otters fly the domestic routes. In 2002, the airline carried 1,054,687 passengers.


Domestic service connects the Ethiopian cities of Addis Ababa (Bole International Airport and Lideta Airport), Arba Minch, Axum, Bahir Dar, Gambella, Gode, Gonder Jimma, Lalibella, and Mikele.

Internationally, Ethiopian Airlines flights from Bole International Airport and Dire Dawa International Airport connect Ethiopia with cities throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America:

Africa: Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cairo, Dar Es-Salaam, Djibouti, Entebbe, Harare, Hargiesa, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Lome, Luanda, Lusaka, Nairobi, N'djamena, and Zanzibar.

Middle East & Asia: Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Hong Kong, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Mumbai, New Delhi, Riyadh, and Telaviv.

Europe: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London,and Rome.

America: New York and Washington DC.

Fatal events on Ethiopian Airlines

Since 1970, there have been two fatal events involving Ethiopian Airlines aircraft.

On 15 September, 1988 an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 taking off from Bahar Dar, Ethiopia ingested numerous pigeons into both engines. One engine lost thrust almost immediately and the second lost thrust during the emergency return to the airport. As a result of the crash landing, 31 of the 105 passengers were killed.

On 23 November, 1996, three hijackers commandeered a Boeing 767 on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961. The flight was on its first leg, on a Addis Ababa,Ethiopia-Nairobi-Kenya,Brazzaville,Republic of the Congo-Lagos,Nigeria-Abidjan,Côte d'Ivoire route.

The hijackers were instructing the pilot to fly to Australia. Flying south along the African coast, fuel reserves ran out and one of the plane's engines stopped. While attempting a landing near Moroni in the Comoros Islands the aircraft ran completely out of fuel and ditched into waters 500m from shore. 123 of the 175 passengers and crew aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 died. All of the hijackers are presumed dead.