Ethiopian Airlines: 787 helped boost profits

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopian Airlines has made a record profit, the company’s chief executive officer said this week.

Tewolde Gebremariam partly credited the profitability of Ethiopian Airlines to Boeing’s problematic 787 planes.

He said the company’s operating profit between July 2012 and June 2013 is 2.7 billion birr ($143,137,098) from 1 billion birr ($53,013,740) the previous financial year.

Citing unaudited company accounts, Tewolde said that the company’s net profits also surged during the period to 2.03 billion birr ($107,617,892) from 734 million birr ($39,230,167) of the previous year, a 178 percent increase.

Tewolde said the performance is a result of “exceptionally dedicated employees” and the Boeing 787 planes he described as super-efficient. He said the planes helped the company save on fuel costs.

In January, Dreamliners around the world were grounded because of overheating lithium batteries. Ethiopian Airlines was the first to get the plane back in the air, on April 27. In early July one of the company’s 787 planes was damaged by a fire while parked at London Heathrow airport.

The plane had been parked for about 10 hours when a worker in the control tower saw smoke coming out, and activated a crash alarm.

British air safety officials have subsequently recommended that emergency transmitters on Boeing 787s should be disabled after finding that one of the squat orange boxes was the only thing with enough power to start a fire in the scorched tail section of the 787.

Tewolde said Ethiopian Air would have been even more profitable, if it had not been for incidents involving the 787 planes.

“Definitely the incidents and grounding have some impact. We were very fortunate that coincidentally the grounding of the planes were in what we call slack season. It’s a slow demand season. So were able to minimize the level of the impact,” said Tewolde.

He insisted the Dreamliners are “the future of the aviation” and his company is sticking with plans to buy five more of the planes and lease three others.

“Whenever we introduce the aircraft in any route, the load factor immediately increases, which means our customers love the plane, they are enjoying its features,” Tewolde said.

He said the incidents with the Dreamliner are part of a natural teething period “which is not unusual for a technologically game-changing aircraft such as the Dreamliner.”

Ethiopian Airlines operates an all-Boeing fleet with some 1,330 weekly flights. The airline flies to 76 international and 17 domestic destinations.

More in Herald Business Journal

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox network, stations and cable channels.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Delta orders 100 Airbus A321neo jets valued at $12.7 billion

Boeing had hoped to land the deal, offering comparable 737s.

Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million complex expected to open in spring 2019.

What can be learned from the optimism of Churchill, Elon Musk

A new movie, “The Dark Years,” depicts Winston Churchill during the perilous… Continue reading

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Bombardier promotes its C Series airliner as American made

It says more than half its all-new jet is made in US factories with final assembly near Montreal.

Most Read