By Kingsley Okeke
The Chief Executive Officer of Africa’s leading aviation company, Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gabremariam has said that the company’s dominance in the continent’s aviation industry is not threatened by the COVID-19 induced disruption of the industry. Mr Gabremariam made this known in an exclusive interview with African Leadership Magazine UK recently.
In his words, “Ethiopian Airlines only changed strategy due to the pandemic, we never stopped flying. All through the lockdown, our flights were moving around the globe. Cargoes on our planes only replaced passengers, but we were flying across the globe, delivering Personal Protective Equipment and other COVID-19 relief materials.”
Continuing the CEO maintained that, “Ethiopian Airlines have received commendations from world leaders for their exceptional contribution to the movement of medical equipment and other materials during this period of the pandemic.”
A recently released report by the International Air Transport Association, IATA, puts the airline industry at the risk of losing $314 billion in ticket sales, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
However, Mr Gabremariam is of the view that while other Airlines may be experiencing stunted growth due to the pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines, has been making progress.
According to the CEO, “Ethiopian Airlines is the only Airline that has not received any form of bailout from the government; while other major airlines around the world are receiving bailouts from their governments.”
“There are no short- or long-term plans to retrench or cut down our staff strength; we did not reduce staff salary, and we have no plans of the doing so, he said.
He also confirmed that Ethiopian Airlines would be taking delivery of two new Aircraft in the coming months.
Ethiopian Airlines Group, the continent’s leading Airliner recently unveiled the new terminal 2 at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The Airport which is the first new airport terminal opened after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, features
sixty check-in counters, thirty self-check-in kiosks, sixteen immigration counters and sixteen central security screening areas for departing passengers.”
Mr Gabremariam while announcing the opening of the new terminal stated that “While Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai to become the largest gateway to Africa last year, the new terminal will play a key role in cementing that position.”
He also added that “What makes the new terminal unique is that it’s the first terminal in the world to be completed after Covid-19. It was designed, not re-purposed, with Biosafety and Biosecurity in mind. “I’m sure our esteemed customers will highly appreciate that.”
The full interview will be featured in the next edition of the African Leadership Magazine.