Ethiopian re-opens more destinations
To grow freighter fleet
Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has resumed flights to more destinations as governments re-open their airports.
Ethiopian announced that it has resumed flights to Saudi Arabia both Riyadh and Jeddah, with enhanced safety measures to ensure passenger wellness. The airline has resumed passenger flights to Dubai further to the ending of the lock-down and its opening for leisure travelers as of July 8, 2020. The pandemic forced the airline to abandon a number of destinations as airports in many countries were closed, except for repatriation and cargo flights.
Ethiopian Airlines has recently started flights to Douala and Yaoundé in Cameroon, which will fly from Addis Ababa to Douala via Yaoundé and then back to Addis Ababa.
Djibouti has also announced that it ended lock-down on July 17. As a result, Ethiopian has resumed scheduled service to the neighboring nation. These resumptions will bring the total number of destinations to be served by Ethiopian with enhanced safety measures to more than 40. “As countries continue to open-up their airports for passenger arrival, Ethiopian will announce list of these destinations in due course,” the airline said in a statement. Ethiopian has 127 international destinations but aborted most of them as governments closed their airspaces.
The airline advised customers that facemasks will be mandatory for travel and request to satisfy destination entry requirements such as health certificates and fill health declaration forms if required. Ethiopian said as countries continue to open their borders and relax travel restrictions, it is ready to increase frequencies to accommodate the demand by focusing on the wellbeing of customers and staff. “Ethiopian is happy to welcome back business and leisure travelers to these destinations.”
In a related news Ethiopian Airlines is planning to grow its freighter fleet. A senior Ethiopian official told The Reporter that the airline is set to grow its cargo fleet with six more freighters. Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services operates ten B777F and two B737F. The B777 is the most modern and largest commercial freighter aircraft with the capacity to lift 105 tons of cargo at a time. The B737 can transport 22 tons of cargo.
Ethiopian has converted 22 passenger aircraft including B787 and A350 jetliners into cargo aircraft to meet the massive freight transport demand created abruptly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The senior official said Ethiopian will be adding one new 777F directly from Boeing, three freighter-converted 767Fs, and two freighter-converted 737Fs. With the addition of six freighter aircraft, Ethiopian hopes to meet the growing demand for air cargo services. Ethiopian has a state-of-the-art cargo terminal at its main hub Addis Ababa Bole International Airport which can handle one million tons of cargo per annum.
Ethiopian Cargo daily transports 1.6 million kg of cargo to fro its main hub in Addis Ababa of which 70 percent goes to other countries. Currently, Ethiopian Cargo handles 450,000 tons of cargo annually generating more than USD 800 million. The company targets to boost its revenue to USD two billion by 2025.
“The management saved the airline by boosting cargo operations,” an official told The Reporter. “The revenue from cargo operations is keeping the airline afloat,” he added.