Addis Ababa / Bloomberg
Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, Africaâ€™s largest carrier by revenue, increased its profit by 12 percent to 3.53 billion Ethiopia birr ($165.4 million) in 2014-15 despite declining air traffic on the continent.
The fiscal crisis in African oil producers due to the falling crude price, the effects of the Ebola crisis on travel and instability in Africa and the Middle East weighed the industry down, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam said.
â€œThe year was characterised by a challenging operating environment,â€ he said in the companyâ€™s annual
Ethiopian Airlines was able to keep growing by managing its spending and selling services including catering, ground handling and aircraft maintenance to other airlines helped maintain profitability, he said. The group, which also operates Togoâ€™s ASKY Airlines and Malawian Airlines, is aiming for $10 billion revenue in about a decade.
Operating revenue increased 6 percent from a year earlier to 49.5 billion birr in the fiscal year that ended July 7, the company said.
The state-owned company ordered 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s worth more than $2.1 billion, and has the option to purchase 15 more, it said. The carrier said it has â€œlong-term loansâ€ of 47.3 billion birr. The Ethiopian government has exempted the airlines from paying income tax.
Ethiopian Airlines, formerly Ethiopian Air Lines (EAL) and often referred to as simply Ethiopian, is Ethiopia’s flag carrier and is wholly owned by the country’s government. EAL was founded in December 1945 and commenced operations in 1946, expanding to international flights in 1951.
The firm became a share company in 1965, and changed its name from Ethiopian Air Lines to Ethiopian Airlines.
The airline has been a member of the International Air Transport Associationsince 1959, and of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) since 1968. Ethiopian is a Star Alliance member, having joined in December 2011.
Its hub and headquarters are at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, from where it serves a network of nearly 82 passenger destinations â€”19 of them domesticâ€” while 23 are freighter ones.
Ethiopian flies to more destinations in Africa than any other carrier. It is one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, and is among the largest on the African continent.
It is also one of the few profitable airlines in the Sub-Saharan region. The airline’s cargo division was awarded The African Cargo Airline of the Year in early 2011.