Djibouti Denies Ethiopian Flights Operation Permit

August 10th, 2010 | by addis portal |

ECivil aviation authorities in Djibouti have denied the Ethiopian Airlines permits for operation flights last week, reliable sources disclosed to Fortune. Ethiopia’s national flag carrier has subsequently suspended its scheduled passenger flights to Djibouti indefinitely, as of August 1, 2010, Fortune has confirmed.

Officials at Ethiopian were unwilling to comment on the details of the cancellation, except to say that it was due to “operational reasons.”

“There are negotiations going on between the two countries,” Girma Wake, chief executive officer (CEO) of the airline, told Fortune. “They have some demands . . . The suspension is only until some sort of agreement is reached.”

Djibouti has long voiced its unhappiness about the type of aircraft used for flights to its airport and has been demanding the Ethiopian government to provide a Boeing 737 aircraft, sources disclosed.
Ethiopian Airlines used to fly Fokker 50 aircraft but changed to new Q400 aircraft after acquiring five from Canadian plane manufacturer, Bombardier, in March 2010.

“Despite the demand of Djibouti for a Boeing aircraft . . . , the national flag carrier has not complied because of a lack of the large number of passengers [required] to warrant such an aircraft,” according to sources. “Even if the airline was to somehow manage to send a Boeing 737 the destination, the number of passengers, even in peak season, would not be enough to fill the aircraft.”

Ethiopian Airlines currently has a total of 41 aircraft, including 10 Boeing 767-300s, eight Boeing 757-200s, two cargo Boeing 757-260Fs, two cargo Boeing 747F, two cargo MD-11Fs, five Boeing 737-700NGs, two Boeing 737-800Ws, five Bombardier Q400s, and five Fokker 50s.

The airline, which flies to 38 African destinations, has a total of 50 aircraft on order, including 10 Boeing 787 DreamLiner jets, which were the first of their kind to be ordered by any airline on the continent.

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