Why is Ethiopian Airlines, headquartered in poor Addis Ababa, more successful than SAA, which is based in Africa’s richest region of Gauteng?
Next time President Jacob Zuma sends a government delegation outside the country to learn how other governments run state companies he must consider an unlikely tutor, Ethiopia.
Poor as it is compared to South Africa, Ethiopia can teach our government officials a thing or two on how to run state companies profitably without bleeding state coffers.
Ethiopian Airlines has reported a record-high net profit of R2.2-billion for the financial year ending June, up from last year’s R1.98-billion.
While Ethiopian Airlines makes billions and expands into new markets, our national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), is bleeding money and retreating.
SAA is bankrupt and survives on loans guaranteed by the government.
Its managers have failed to produce sound financial reports. It was recently placed under the political curatorship of the national Treasury.
This after Dudu Myeni, SAA’s chairwoman who has been learning on the job but shows no signs of improvement, clashed with the Department of Public Enterprises and senior executives over the airline’s direction.
And there have been reports, so far not denied, that Myeni takes instructions from Zuma, who is clueless about airlines.
For many years our airline has been subjected to a string of scandals, political interference and incompetent appointments.