A tragic plane crash happened in Empakaai, near Ngorongoro, Tanzania on November 15, 2017. The Cessna 208 Caravan plane, operated by Coastal Aviation, was flying from Arusha to Serengeti National Park. Ten passengers and the sole pilot perished in the accident (Reuters news piece).
Despite being a relatively small plane, eleven victims make it among the worst plane crashes in 2017, that has been a remarkably quiet year in terms of aviation accidents.
Yet there has been very little about the crash in the international media, even if the plane carried western tourists. There is space for only one Africa news item at a time, and for the last few days it has been the coup in Zimbabwe.
Only three weeks earlier did the airline have another accident, it was only luck that everyone survived that time ( Dar Post report ).
Coastal Aviation has been known to be a reliable airline serving mainly tourist with scheduled and chartered flights between main cities, national parks and Zanzibar. These accidents are a major blow to the airline, which may now face uncertain times.
Ethiopian Airlines is an unlikely success story of African aviation industry. There are very few profitable airlines in Africa but Ethiopian Airlines has managed to operate profitably for years. At the same time self-proclaimed “Pride of Africa”, Kenya Airways may go under any date, while South African Airways is kept flying only by government subsidies. With a growing fleet size of about 75 aircraft and the destination count now over 100, Ethiopian is one of the largest airlines of the continent. The airline has grown steadily since it was founded in 1945, turning 70 years this December. Despite being wholly government owned, the airline has been spared of unnecessary political disturbance, even during less stable times Ethiopia has endured over the decades. The airline even bought American aircraft during the 80’s communist regime.