Ethiopian Airlines’ Captain Alemayehu Abebe, 93, passed away on 4th January. He was the first African pilot to command a commercial aircraft across the Atlantic. In 1957, he made his solo flight as captain on a DC‐3/C-47 aircraft. He is a central figure in Ethiopian aviation history as the pioneer in the field. He deserves praise for taking on a new technological field that no other Ethiopian did before him.


Captain Alemayehu became interested in flying planes at the age of 10, when he saw them flying over his home town of Babile, Harar. Unlike many pilots, he was not from a privileged family. Yet through determination and self-discipline he was able to fulfill not only his dreams of becoming a captain, but went down in history as the first African commercial jet pilot. In 2005 Alemayehu Abebe wrote a book entitled “Hiwote Bemidir Na Bayer” roughly meaning “My Life on Land and Air”.


The Captain has been an inspiration to many and remains an icon in Ethiopian Airlines’ history. His legacy will live on for generations to come.


PHOTO CAPTION: Captain Alemayehu (centre) immediately after his first flight in command of a DC-3 on 27th January 1957

SOURCE: Ethiopian Embassy (UK)

PHOTOS (Above): Ethiopian Airlines