|Image Credit: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt|
by Vinay Bhaskara
African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has announced a record net profit of 2.03 billion birr (US $107.6 million) for the period from July 2012 – June 2013, up 178% from 734 million birr (US $39.2 million)year-over-year (YOY). Operating profitability also rose a healthy 170% YOY to 2.7 billion birr (US $143.1 billion), from 1 billion birr (US $53.0 million). While the carrier has not yet formally released its financial results, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam presented these figures as coming from Ethiopian’s un-audited results for the period. The formal announcement of results should come soon.
Interestingly, Gebremariam attributed Ethiopian’s profitability in part to the troubled Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, citing the fuel savings driven by the aircraft’s increased fuel efficiency. His comments come just a month and a half after an Ethiopian Dreamliner memorably caught fire at London’s Heathrow Airport in early July (an incident later attributed to a Honeywell Emergency Locator Transmitter), and a three month long grounding of the aircraft due to battery issues earlier this year. Gebremariam admitted that the Dreamliners had caused some issues for Ethiopian this past financial year:
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.
However, he also said that the carrier has seen a demand boost from the Dreamliners:
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
Ethiopian says that it will take delivery of its remaining 8 Dreamliners on order (5 direct orders and 3 leases), bringing the carrier’s active fleet of 787-8 Dreamliners to 12 (13 frames on the books but one is currently indisposed at Heathrow Airport). Ethiopian currently operates a fleet of 54 passenger aircraft (with 31 more on order – 14 Airbus A350-900s, 8 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, 4 Boeing 777-300ERs, and 5 Boeing 737-800s) serving 80 passenger destinations around the globe. Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian is a member of the Star Alliance partnership of global airlines, and is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.