Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest cargo and passenger carrier, is dreaming big. After generating revenue of US$2,43 billion in the 2016 financial year, which saw a 70% jump in net profit and an 18% increase in passenger numbers to 7,6 million, the airline says it is buying an additional 55 aircraft, expanding its fleet to 142 planes.
Zimbabwe Independent’s assistant editor Brezhnev Malaba (BM) interviewed the Ethiopian Airlines managing director (international services), Esayas Woldemariam (EW), in Victoria Falls at the launch of a direct flight from Addis Ababa. He also spoke about the revival of Air Zimbabwe.
BM: You have been involved in discussions to explore the possibility of reviving Air Zimbabwe. Any progress on that front?
EW: The talks still continue and we are very much focussed on helping in that initiative.
BM: How do you envisage to structure this Air Zimbabwe deal if it were to materialise? We are talking of an airline saddled with debts exceeding US$300 million.
EW: It all depends on the political will of the government of Zimbabwe, and on how they want to put it, whether it is going to be a joint-venture or management consultancy. Ethiopian Airlines is ready for all that.
We have all the human resources, the material resources and the financial resources.
We are looking forward to co-operating with Zimbabwe in a very big way so that we can be able to revamp the whole thing so that Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa are capable of combating the other airlines so that we can defend Africa’s resources and defend the traffic of African airlines.