Ethiopian Airlines won the African Airline of the Year 2006 Award. US deputy assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs in the department of transport, Susan Mcdemoff, handed the award plaque on Monday to Ethiopian Airlines chief Girma Wake in Cape Town, South Africa at the end of the 15th Annual Air Finance for Africa Conference.

The Africa Aviation Journal introduced the award in 1999 to give international recognition to individuals, companies and organisations that make significant contribution to aviation development in Africa.

Ethiopian Airlines was commended for its financial performance and overall profitability, passenger growth, route network expansion, fleet modernisation, in-flight services and customer care, the Journal said.

It is a special privilege for Ethiopian (Airlines) to have been awarded African Airline of the Year 2006. The award inspires the airline to enhance its commitment to provide quality services to its esteemed customers, said Girma.

Since its launch on December 5 1945, with a maiden flight from Addis Ababa to Cairo, Ethiopian Airlines has steadily grown to become a reputable carrier.

From its Addis Ababa hub, it provides flight connections to 47 destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America.

With the motto: Bringing Africa Together and Closer to the World Ethiopian Airlines boasts the largest network on the continent, both in passenger and cargo services.

South African Airways had won the award ahead of Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways between 2000 and 2005. -panapress