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Last Updated:[05-06-2009 07:36:27 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Ethiopian Airlines Expanding its Fleet with Record Profits

tradenews Ethiopian Airlines’ (EA) whopping profit of about $55.67mn for the first nine months of 2007-08 has enabled them to expand their fleet to accommodate more US tourists’ interest in visiting Ethiopia. Girma Wake, CEO of EA averred that four additional airliners from Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop had been ordered to strengthen its fleet.

In November 2008, the state-owned airlines had signed an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace to purchase eight Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners. Wake said that they had placed orders for more airliners due to the expectation of higher traffic in 2010. He acknowledged that Bombardier’s performance including longer range, higher payload and lower operability cost were the major factors which compelled them to opt for the same airliner once again.

EA saw a turnaround in profits ever since it won Best African Airline Award in 2006. The airlines recorded just about $16mn profit in 2006-07 fiscal but the profits soared ever after its sustained efforts on marketing Ethiopia began in large scale since early last year.

EA is one of the largest airlines from the African continent, and one of the few flight operators that has made profits in the current global financial mess. It should be noted, EA’s profit story came especially after last year the International Air Traffic Association (IATA) predicted major downward shake-up in the profits of many air carriers from the region.

Several African air carriers suffered losses owing to decline in traffic from Europe last year. Africa being described as the major growing power in aviation industry saw close to 9 percent slide in total traffic and flights to Europe registered around 10 percent decline.

EA feels if the fuel prices remained stable; it would not be a problem to generate same kind of profit this fiscal too. The air carrier is embarked on a massive marketing drive in the US to attract tourists to its country including roping in the services of NBA legend Manute Bol as brand ambassador of the airline.

By Jose Roy

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