Ethiopian Airlines sets new fleet, sales targets

October 31st, 2008 | by addis portal |

PARIS, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines is setting a new target of sales of “at least” $1.5 billion by 2015 after coming close to its achieving its 2010 aim of $1 billion sales this year, chief executive Girma Wake told Reuters on Thursday.

The airline is expanding even as its counterparts in more developed regions struggle to cope with the aftermath of a recent spike in oil prices, and the effects of a slowdown on business and leisure travel.

The state-owned carrier, which operates 27 aircraft on routes within Africa and to European, Asian, Middle Eastern and North American destinations, plans to expand its fleet to 45 aircraft by 2015.

Wake said the airline is considering ordering more Boeing Co. <BA.N> 787 aircraft, or A350 XWB aircraft made by EADS <EAD.PA> unit Airbus to supplement existing outstanding orders.

“We’re discussing that with Airbus”, he said.

It already has 10 Boeing Co <BA.N>. 787 aircraft on order, the first of which is now due to be delivered in December 2009, after supply chain problems delayed the programme by at least 16 months.

Wake, speaking on the sidelines of an aviation conference in Paris, said the airline wants to serve 75 destinations by 2015. It currently serves 53 destinations and plans to have 60 by 2010.

The global financial crisis may have a temporary negative effect on business, as tourists think twice before booking holidays, Wake said.

However, he added that “trade-led traffic and movement within Africa will continue – Africa is a vast continent.”

The airline, which transported 2.5 million passengers in 2007/08 and thereby almost achieved its 2010 target of 3 million, now hopes to carry 5 million passengers in 2015, Wake said.

Ethiopian Airlines posted full-year sales of 9.2 billion birr ($941 million) for 2007/08.

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