Ethiopian Airlines expects profits despite disruptions in operations from the pandemic, which have brought the aviation industry to its knees. Company CEO Tewolde Gebre-Mariam says that revenues from cargo services helped the carrier to generate revenue, as commercial flights stay grounded.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Gebre-Mariam reveals that that cargo revenue helped the carrier to service loans, pay aircraft leases, salaries and rent. These monthly payments total to between $120 million and $150 million.
“We may not be as profitable as we expected, but we registered some profit,” Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebre-Mariam said in an interview. “The first half of the year was good, and the cargo business has also done very well.”
At the onset of the pandemic, the airlines doubled cargo capacity, converting 20 passenger planes for cargo, adding to its 10 Boeing 777s and 2 Boeing 737s it had for cargo. The airline established itself as a formidable cargo transporter between Africa and Asia. Ethiopian Airlines shifted to transporting Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and medical appliances from China to the world.
The airlines wants to become Alibaba’s official company in the continent.
Ethiopian Airlines to Resume Cautiously
However, earlier this week, the company announced plans to resume commercial flights. The company will reinforce protective measures to ensure the safety of both clients and staff. CEO Gebre-Mariam earlier said that clients would have to wear face masks on board, undergo health screening before boarding, and sanitize their carry on luggage. Further, reading materials like magazines and menus will not be available.