Ethiopia’s Ethiad Airways was once the largest airline in Africa

Written by By Staff Writer Atiba Rocked, CNN Ethiopia Ethiopia’s flagship airlines, Ethiad Airways, which is nearly as well known for its luxury suites and lavish meals as its flights, transported guns and ammunition…

Ethiopia's Ethiad Airways was once the largest airline in Africa

Written by By Staff Writer Atiba Rocked, CNN Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s flagship airlines, Ethiad Airways, which is nearly as well known for its luxury suites and lavish meals as its flights, transported guns and ammunition to keep the country’s 1979-1991 war with Eritrea going.

The report was first unearthed by BBC Urdu, which claims it was written by Ethiopian investigative journalist Susanne Jawrayen.

Journalist Susanne Jawrayen. Credit: Susanne Jawrayen/Talian

The book, titled “Taking Flight: Ethiopia’s Battles on and Off the Air,” contains an audio interview with Capt. Hailu Mekonen, the chairman of Ethiad Airways from 1970 to 1977.

The 224-page book documents the chain of events leading up to the strike in September 1979, which shattered Ethiopia’s airline industry.

The move resulted in the closure of Ethiad Airways for the rest of the year and eliminated 40,000 jobs.

In an audio clip he gave to the BBC, Hailu, who is now retired, said that the plane’s doors were padlocked for about two weeks at a time, preventing it from getting any fuel.

“The reason we couldn’t use it to refuel was because of the guns and ammunition we took with us that were kept on board,” he said.

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