Wednesday, May 22, 2024
NewsET needs new operations base, fast: Investment Holdings CEO

ET needs new operations base, fast: Investment Holdings CEO

-Airline posts 19.5bln birr gross profits in first quarter

Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH) is calling for urgency in the construction of a new hub for the Ethiopian Airlines Group (ET) outside of Addis Ababa, warning the national carrier’s needs will exceed the capacity of Bole International Airport within the coming five years.

Abdurahman Eid Tahir, chief executive of EIH, brought the issue to Parliament’s attention while presenting a quarterly performance report on December 6.

EIH was established in late 2021 as the strategic investment arm of the Ethiopian government. It holds close to two dozen of the most profitable state-owned enterprises (SOEs) under its wing, including Ethio telecom, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Airlines Group.

These SOEs generated close to 250 billion birr in revenues over the first quarter.

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Ethiopian exhibited the strongest performance, generating 101 billion birr from its eight business units over the first three months of the fiscal year. Close to 20 billion was registered as gross profit – a 55 percent surge from last year’s figures. The airline transported 4.49 million passengers over the reporting period.

The Holdings CEO disclosed the conflict in Sudan is negatively affecting Ethiopian’s operations, while a shortage of spare parts for aircraft has also been a challenge.

Abdurahman cautioned MPs of the need to get the construction of a new operations hub for Ethiopian Airlines off the ground as soon as possible.

“I’m not sure how long the existing facility will serve, but its present capacity will saturate in five years’ time,” he said. 

Three years ago, the Ethiopian Airlines Group announced plans for the construction of a new, USD five billion airport facility in the vicinity of Bishoftu town, some 40 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.

The Group envisions the airport as a replacement for its current hub – Bole International Airport. The new airport is slated to cover a 35 square kilometer plot, which would make it the largest in Africa and enable the airline to transport 100 million passengers a year.

Ethiopian Airlines executives have previously disclosed plans to finalize the construction of two terminals in 2028 as part of the project’s first phase.

The national carrier placed a record order for 67 jets from American manufacturer Boeing during the Dubai Air Show last month. The order includes 20 737 MAX jets and close to a dozen 787 Dreamliners.

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