Ethiopian Airlines bucks regional trend with profit surge

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Ethiopian Airlines, the leading African flag carrier, on Wednesday reported a surge in profit for the last financial year, in sharp contrast to the ailing fortunes of other airlines in the region.

The state-owned airline saw a 79 percent jump in revenue to $5 billion for 12 months to July while profit skyrocketed 90 percent to $937 million, according to the country’s sovereign wealth fund Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH).

The results were “despite the headwinds of worsening global economic outlook, rising fuel cost, global pandemic”, EIH chief executive Mamo Mihretu said on Twitter.

He gave no further details, although state media said the airline had transported 6.9 million international travelers last year alone.

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Other carriers in East Africa have been buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on air travel, and are now grappling with the fallout from the war in Ukraine which has sent global fuel prices soaring.

Kenya Airways, for example, last week reported a 9.8 billion shilling ($82 million) loss in the six months to June, although it was an improvement on the 11.48 billion shilling ($95 million) deficit in the first half of last year.

The airline, which has been stuck in the red for years and is relying on state bailouts, reported a 76 percent increase in revenue to 48.1 billion shillings (about $400 million) over the same period as passenger numbers almost doubled to 1.6 million.

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