Ethiopian profits soar but dumps slowing Boeing

ETHIOPIAN Airlines has reported that its net profit for the first half of the year has more than doubled, compared to 2008, to 1.3 billion birr (US$118.6 million).

Operating revenue for the year to June rose 32.8 per cent to 12.2 billion birr ($1.06 billion), said chief executive Girma Wake in a statement, while cargo traffic increased 38.4 per cent compared with last year.

“Our profits increased due to an aggressive marketing campaign and a major cost-cutting effort,” a spokesperson explained. “We introduced seven new routes which also contributed to our growth, including routes to Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.”

Wake also revealed that Ethiopian had placed orders, totalling $4.5 billion, for five 777-200LRs from Boeing, but 12 350-900s from Airbus and eight Q400 turboprops from Bombardier.

Wake said the airline had put down part payments for the aircraft on order and planned to take out loans to pay for the rest.

Boeing’s hold over Ethiopian has been considered unshakeable but the manufacturer’s protracted delays with its 787 Dreamliner (“Boeing’s nightmare”) have been blamed for airlines’ moving over to Airbus in increasing numbers.

Qatar Airways chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, told journalists in Washington DC that Boeing needs to work hard to regain its market dominance.

“Unfortunately, Boeing has lost its leadership,” he said. “The mess with this [787] programme could have been corrected a long time ago. If they had correctly focused management, they could have seen this coming.”

When asked if he would accept the job as Boeing’s chief executive officer if the company offered it to him, Al Baker said: “I would take it and a lot of heads would roll. Just like in my airline…People must deliver.”

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