It’s a double winners day for Ethiopia
…as Prime Minister Ahmed bags Nobel and Ethiopian Airlines posts jumbo profits!
By Nsikan Ikpe
It’s indeed a double winners day, this Thursday for the Horn of African nation of Ethiopia.
While on the one hand, its youthful Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, the nation’s other flagship brand, Ethiopian Airlines has equally posted one of its most impressive performance outcomes for many years and counting.
News of Ahmed’s big win filtered in earlier in the day to loud applause from many African streets where pundits and commentators had remarked over the month’s that the Prime Minister had clearly distinguished himself within the pack of African leaders.
In addition to his landmark efforts in bringing about peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea which the Nobel Prize authorities hinged the award specifically on, Ahmed has also been involved in sundry other peace initiatives within his home, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.
As for Ethiopian Airlines, while acknowledging that the year has indeed been a ‘challenging’ one for it and indeed the overall aviation industry, it is however pleased that within the same period, it has equally been able to record very encouraging passenger and revenue figures.
Going down memory lane, Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde Gebremariam recalled that the March 10 crash of the airline’s scheduled flight from Ethiopia to Kenya, which had claimed 157 lives, including the Carleton Professor of African Studies, Pius Adesanmi, was clearly the biggest challenge faced by his organisation in the year under reference.
“We lost our dear colleagues and valued customers and we still remember them in our daily lives. Managing the accident crisis was a challenge,”the airline chief remarked.
Though facing challenges of inadequate aircraft and difficulties with repatriating revenues from Angola, Zimbabwe, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and Eritrea, the airline was however able to record sustained patronage from 12.1 million passengers which then translated into a 17 per cent rise in operating revenue, operating profit of $260million and net profit of $189million.
And ahead of the coming on stream of full operations in the African Continental Free Trade Area, the airline has already reached out to help other African countries establish and manage their own carriers. Some of the early beneficiaries, sources say are the long-troubled South African Airways and new carriers in Ghana and Zambia.
Indeed the Ghana move has already begun to register substantial progress as Tewolde confirms:
“We have recently signed a shareholders agreement with the Ghanaian government…Hopefully it will be up and running in the next six months.”