September 30, 2017 - Ethiopian Airlines announced that it has fully taken paper out of its business operations. To commemorate the date Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam signed the company’s last paper document approval and burnt down used papers. The Ethiopian disclosed that it has fully digitalized all its business processes like aircraft maintenance, flight operations, commercial operations, finance, human resource management, customer services, procurement, supply chain management, management approvals and authorizations by removing paper from the entire system as of September 28, 2017.
At a press briefing held at the headquarters of Ethiopian Tewolde said that his company has been working hard to take out paper from its operations for the past ten years. He said that the company has invested more than 50 million dollars on ICT development in the past five years. According to him, going fully digital would enable the airline to be cost effective, increase efficiency and productivity.
Tewolde said that Ethiopian has become a green airline by using young and modern fleet that use less fuel and has minimal carbon emission. “Now by avoiding paper we ensure that we operate a green airline,” he told the media.
Ethiopian has teamed up with Sabre, SAP and Microsoft companies to digitalize all its business processes. Tewolde said that his IT team worked hard to realize the airline’s aspiration to become a fully digitalized company. While the airline uses digital plat forms to perform its operations it will be obliged to provide paper documents to its partners and other stakeholders who have not yet become fully digitalized. “To day it is a milestone in our history as we totally avoid paper from our entire business process,” Tewolde said.
“As the travelling public knows customer service at Ethiopian Airlines has been digitalized long time ago. We have a paperless booking, ticketing, checking and boarding process. We have a paperless sales and paperless operation. Our customers with a smart phone in their hands can now purchase tickets, make bookings, modify their bookings, proceed with the airport with self-checking, and their boarding pass in their mobile phones, and make self-boarding. They can take their seats by showing their boarding pass on their phones to the stewardess.”
What was lagging behind was the internal process that uses paper and the airline completed that process and took out paper from its entire operation as of yesterday. “As of today we are going to be a fully digital airline,” Tewolde declared.
Laeke Tadesse, chief information officer, told The Reporter that passengers can make their bookings online, pay for their tickets using mobile banking services and make self-checking at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Ethiopian has entered into an agreement with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Dashen Bank and United Bank to handle air ticket payments through mobile banking system.
“We have automated our internal process workflow using micro soft share point plat form. We do not have to print letters anymore,” Laeke said. “But we will continue using papers in dealing with our local partners. Our foreign suppliers have already accepted our automated work process,” he added.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has drafted electronic documents governance proclamation that would be presented to the Parliament for endorsement soon.
Ethiopian is promoting online ticketing and e-freight services in the air cargo transport operations. Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services has fully implemented electronic Airway Bill (e-AWB) in its daily operations.