In a move designed to open up the domestic airline market, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority has authorised private charter carriers to break into Ethiopia's scheduled domestic passenger and cargo market.

In a statement released on social media, the authority revealed that it had already granted licences to Ethiopian air transport operators to provide regular passenger and cargo flights in addition to the charter services they currently provide.

Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International) is currently the only scheduled carrier in the East African country, while there are eight active passenger charter operators, according to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module - Abyssinia Flight Services, Aquarius Aviation, East African Aviation, Midroc Aviation, National Airways (Ethiopia), Trans Nation Airways, Walya Airways, and Zemen Flying Service.

The Ethiopian regulator underlined that it had been undergoing a transformation over the last two years and has been updating procedures and introducing new ones to encourage the participation of the private sector in operating domestic routes.

The move is aimed at boosting the aviation sector's contribution to the economy, providing greater incentives and opportunities for investors to conduct safe services, connecting the country's regions, and providing access and increasing tourism.

The authority highlighted that it had also "started a movement involving private investors" to build more than 21 airstrips and helipads in different parts of the country, especially in places currently inaccessible to air transport.

ch-aviation has approached Ethiopian Airlines for comment.