By William Davison (Bloomberg) Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier by revenue, increased its profit by 12 percent to 3.53 billion Ethiopia birr ($165.4 million) in 2014-15 despite declining air traffic on the continent.
The fiscal crisis in African oil producers due to the falling crude price, the effects of the Ebola crisis on travel and instability in Africa and the Middle East weighed the industry down, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam said.
“The year was characterized by a challenging operating environment,” he said in the company’s annual report.
Ethiopian Airlines was able to keep growing by managing its spending and selling services including catering, ground handling and aircraft maintenance to other airlines helped maintain profitability, he said. The group, which also operates Togo’s ASKY Airlines and Malawian Airlines, is aiming for $10 billion revenue in about a decade.
Operating revenue increased 6 percent from a year earlier to 49.5 billion birr in the fiscal year that ended July 7, the company said.
The state-owned company ordered 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s worth more than $2.1 billion, and has the option to purchase 15 more, it said. The carrier said it has “long-term loans” of 47.3 billion birr. The Ethiopian government has exempted the airlines from paying income tax.