DUBAI, January 11, Reuters -- Ethiopian Airlines is profitable and cash positive, underpinned by the booming demand for air cargo, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
The air freight market has been a bright spot for airlines over the past two years, with rates rising due to an online shopping surge and pandemic-linked supply chain disruptions driving demand for cargo space.
CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told a Dubai conference that Ethiopian Airlines' cargo business is strong and I would say that is a breadwinner in the group.
The airline, which he said managed the pandemic with its own finances and without bailouts, is close to 70% of its pre-pandemic capacity, and has given staff pay rises and bonuses.
While demand for passenger travel is improving year-on- year, with 2022 expected to be better for airlines than 2021, Gebremariam cautioned that the industry was still not ready for a full recovery from the crisis.
Gebremariam criticised the uncoordinated responses of governments around the world to the Pandemic, which he blamed for bottle necks and the slow recovery in passenger travel.
He also praised Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East travel hub, which has banned those who have recently been in Ethiopia and 13 other African countries from entering or transiting.
Gebremariam said Ethiopian Airlines had not flown passengers to Dubai in 3 -- 4 weeks.
I don't think that helps the travel and tourism and economy of Dubai as well.