When the going gets tough, the tough gets going

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Tewolde Gebremariam joined Ethiopian Airlines in 1985 as transportation agent at Addis Ababa Airport. He progressed through the ladder to manager, cargo traffic handling. He was appointed regional director for India and south-east Asia based in Bombay. He was transferred to Jeddah area manager for Saudi Arabia. When Ethiopian Airlines commenced direct services to the USA, he was appointed area sales manager for north-east US and Canada based in New York. In October 2000 he was appointed regional director for the Americas. On August 16, 2004 he was appointed executive officer marketing & sales to head the marketing and sales operations of Ethiopian Airlines.  On July 1, 2006 he was appointed chief operating officer of Ethiopian Airlines to head all the operating divisions of the airline, commercial, flight operations, customer services and maintenance and engineering.

He earned his B.A. degree in economics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and his Master’s in business administrations from the Open University in the United Kingdom.

The fuel price hike has created havoc within the airline industry. Fuel cost is accounting for 40 percent of an airlines operational expense. Several airlines have declared bankruptcy and went out of business. IATA forecasts that African carriers would lose some 100 million dollars this year.  Ethiopian Airlines says that though the fuel price hike is affecting it, it is still profitable. Its fuel expenditure has increased by 86 percent to 8.2 billion. The management is working hard on cost reduction strategy. Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, spoke to Kaleyesus Bekele of The Reporter.