Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ethiopian Airlines to acquire 15 new aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The Ethiopian Airlines is to acquire 15 new aircraft from Boeing and Bombardier this year.

In an exclusive interview with The Reporter, Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian CEO, said the airline would acquire four Boeing787 Dreamliner jetliners, four Boeing737-800, five BombardierQ400 and two Boeing777 freighters. Ethiopian placed ten firm orders for Dreamliner aircraft valued at 1.5 billion dollars in 2005. The aircraft were supposed to be delivered to Ethiopian in 2008-2010. Boeing has been compensating Ethiopian for the costs the airline incurred due to the delay in delivery. Now executives of Boeing say they would deliver the first two Dreamlinners in July or August. “They are saying they would delivery in July or August. They did not decide,” Tewolde said.

Despite the escalating fuel price that created a havoc in the global airline industry Ethiopian is still making a profit. “The fuel price hike is affecting our profitability. But still we are profitable. Of course, the profit will be less but we will make profit. We are acquiring all these new aircraft because we still have a strong financial status. If you do not have a strong financial position, financiers will not give you loans. Ethiopian still has a strong financial position. That is why it is able to acquire all these aircraft. Our financiers rely on us because they know that we have a strong financial status. They know that we are strong so they trust us,” Tewolde said.

Ethiopian has 48 aircraft comprising Boeing767, 757, 737, 747, MD11, and Q400. Ethiopian ordered 12Airbus A350.
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777 (
In related news Ethiopian has bought a Bombardier Q400 simulator at a cost of 15 million dollars from the Canadian aircraft manufacturer. Tewolde said Ethiopian made several agreements with Bombardier. “We agreed to be Bombardier parts distributor in Africa. We agreed to be a certified Bombardier MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) center. There are Q400, 300,200 and 100 aircraft. We will repair these aircraft. We will also train pilots on these aircraft,” Tewolde said.

The CEO denied the report that claims that his management was compelling its employees to contribute to the airline and work on day-offs as part of the management’s cost reduction strategy. “We did not force anyone. It is the employees by themselves who are working on their day-off without overtime payment. The pilots and the flight attendants contribute one dollar from their per diem. This has been done on their own initiative. We did not impose anything on them.”

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