Ethiopian Airlines makes record 2.7 billion birr profit

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The fastest-growing airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines, on Thursday announced that it made a record high profit of 2.7 billion birr in the 2012-2013 fiscal year ended last June.

At a press conference held at the Addis Ababa Hilton, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters that his company made an operating profit of 2.7 billion birr, 165 percent up from the profit it made the previous year. The net profit increased by 178 percent from 734 million to 2.3 billion. The airline generated a revenue of 38.5 billion, up by 14 percent. The airline transported 5.5 million passengers and hauled 174,000 tons of cargo during the budget year.

Stiff competition, high and volatile fuel price, and economic recession in Europe were mentioned as some of the challenges facing the global airline industry. Fuel expense now accounts for 50 percent of total operating expense. Poor airport infrastructure, the absence of visa waiver among African countries, high income tax, and airport duties are among the problems faced in Africa.

Tewolde attributed the remarkable performance of Ethiopian to the use of new, modern and fuel-efficient jetliners such as the Boeing B787 Dreamliner and B777 aircraft. Tewolde said the airline took delivery of 14 new aircraft (more than one aircraft per month) — four of them B787 and two B777. “We have deployed ultramodern fuel-efficient aircraft. If you take the B787, it uses 20 percent less fuel. So, using fuel-efficient aircraft contributes to the surge in the profit,” Tewolde told local and foreign reports.

The national flag carrier is expanding its international routes. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, it opened nine new routes. “This also helps us in increasing our profit,” he said. “The hard work of our employees and the wise leadership of the management played a key role in raising our profit. Had it not been for the problems we encountered with the Dreamliner our profit would have been much higher than we have registered.” Read more