After the liberation of Ethiopia from the Italian occupation on April 6, 1941, Emperor Haile Sellassie sought help from the Americans, British and the French to modernize Ethiopia. Americans' intervention in Ethiopia, historians say, was not motivated by anti colonial sentiments. Their interest was based on the premise that once the war was over in Ethiopia, the region would be a highly important strategic aircraft base for the red sea and surrounding areas. Americans intervention helped Ethiopia's entry to the United Nations. This prompted the government's priority to improve transportation and communication networks in Ethiopia. Understanding the great need to modernize Ethiopia, the Americans responded positively and equipped the nation with materials promising technical and economic aid to accelerate its development.
1st ET CEO H. H. Holloway 1945-46
The Birth of Ethiopian Airlines
In June 1945, an Ethiopian delegation to the United Nations approached the United States Department for Technical Assistance to establish a commercial airline. The State Department arranged meetings between the Ethiopian Government officials and Brigadier General T. B. Wilson, Chairman of the Board of Trans Continental and Western Airlines, later known Trans World Airlines (TWA). An Assistance Agreement was reached and details were finalized in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The first Ethiopian Airlines Chairman of the Board of Directors and President was the Minister of Communications, Fitawrari Tafesse Habtemichael.
Consistent with the agreement, TWA management dispatched a team of its talented Pilots, Accountants, Administrators, Instructors and Technicians to help establish Ethiopian Airlines. The key roles for which TWA was hired by the Ethiopian Government were to select potential employees train them and then assign the in the area of aircraft maintenance and repair, Piloting and business management this new airline. To fulfill this dream , the United States became the priority destination for training the managers and specialists.
These objectives were met by 1971, when the last TWA General Manager, Mr. Joe Brumit handed over the office to the first Ethiopian General Manager, Col. Semret Medhane. The last TWA contract employee left in 1974. Since then, the world has seen how how capable the Ethiopian are in managing this great airline.
Today we salute our TWA veterans and those who are not here with us for their uncompromised support and love for Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines.