Ethiopian sees 20pc drop but no plans to halt China flightsIn 2019-20, Ethiopian Airlines reported a $260 million profit on operating revenues of $3.9 billion.
Africa’s most profitable carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has seen a significant drop in demand amidst the coronavirus crisis, however management remains optimistic and there are no plans to halt flights to China.
In financial year 2019-20, Ethiopian Airlines reported a $260 million profit on operating revenues of $3.9 billion. Speaking on the sidelines of the 5th Africa Aviation conference in Addis Ababa this week, Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said, “We’ve seen a 20 percent decline in demand. It’s a big shock, but aviation is used to this kind of shock. Diseases, natural disasters, wars, sudden spikes in oil prices, we’re used to it.”
In an updated analysis of the situation the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry umbrella said on Thursday, losses are quickly mounting.
IATA sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion (in a scenario where COVID-19 is contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of March 2) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading of COVID-19).
IATA’s previous analysis (issued on 20 February 2020) put lost revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact of COVID-19 largely confined to markets associated with China. Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China.
However Gebremariam does not support the move by other major carriers to suspend flights to China. He said, “Flying direct to China doesn’t mean we will stop novel coronavirus, because passengers from China can travel to African countries including Ethiopia through various other hubs. That’s what the interconnected world means. As per the directive of the World Health Organization, stopping flights isn’t the answer. Isolating China because it has novel coronavirus outbreak isn’t fair.”