Africa’s largest Airline Group, Ethiopian Airlines, has ended the year with profitable growth highlighted by fleet and network expansion as well as significant investment in customer services.
Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, recapping the Airline’s performance in 2016, said: “2016 has been an exceptionally challenging year for the African Aviation industry.”
He said commodity exporting countries in general and oil exporting African countries, in particular, have been hit hard by the global decline in commodity prices.
“As a result, demand for air travel has been suppressed and the shortage of foreign exchange has severely affected the financial performance of airlines in the continent,” he added.
He said yet, at Ethiopian, they were very proud of the new heights Ethiopian had flown in the year with the celebration of its 70th anniversary, the inauguration of the largest and the finest Aviation Academy in Africa and a state-of-the-art In-flight Catering facility, the largest in Africa.
He said the company had also within the year introduced Africa’s first Ethiopian Airbus A350, and spread its wings to more countries on five continents.
“Despite the sluggish growth in the world’s matured market, all of our 12,000 colleagues remained focused on the robust execution of our vision 2025, which has proved to be a winning strategy in today’s hyper-competitive and complex airline business,” he said.
Ethiopian Cargo Services has also remained to be the largest cargo airline in Africa.
On cargo, he said the new terminal was 82 per cent complete and was expected to be operational in April 2017, which would have an annual storage, for both dry and perishable goods of 1.2 million tons and a capacity to handle eight B747-800 freighters at a time.
He said the construction of the first phase only cost approximately $150 million.
Upon completion, the uplifting capability would be equivalent to the cargo terminals at Amsterdam Schiphol, Singapore Changi or Hong Kong.
Ethiopian has increased its fleet by eight aircraft in 2016 and has closed the year with 82 airplanes in service.
He said for the first time in its history, Ethiopian had diversified to include Airbus aircraft, with Africa’s first A350.
The Group CEO said with an average fleet age of just five years, Ethiopian has one of the youngest and most modern fleet in the world and has heavily invested in the two most technologically advanced fleet; the B787 Dream Liner and the A350.
He said with high performance, less carbon emission, advanced cabin features, and superior customer comfort, these airplanes were game changers in today’s civil aviation industry.
He said with the with the booming construction in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, the Airline’s four-star hotel construction was progressing with 30 per cent completed.
The hotel will have 330 rooms, a banquet hall to accommodate 2000 guests, restaurants, a swimming pool, gym, and spa.
During the 2016 Ethiopian partnered with a significant number of local and international organisations to discharge its corporate Social responsibility.
Some of the partners are Free Shipment of Medicine by Airlink USA, Shipment of Colonel John Charles Robinson’s Sculpture, humanitarian shipment for UNICEF Ethiopia and free ticket grants to support medical travellers abroad.