- Ethiopia Airlines is planning to reduce the number of flights to the United States and China as economic recession takes its toll on the horn of Africa state.
One of the Africa’s leading airliner, which currently flies six times a week to Washington Dulles International airport, plans to reduce to four flights a week on the route. It also plans to cut its 14 flights a week to China which will be cut to 12 flights a week.
The airline chief executive, Girma Wake, said the number of passengers have also drastically declined on China and the United States routes, blaming it on the global economic recession.
"Ethiopian Airlines began to feel passenger and cargo contraction in November 2008, but December 2008 was when the changes became noticeable," he said in a statement.
In August last year, Ethiopian Airlines announced plans to expand its fleet to service domestic passengers.
The Airline is also in the process of acquiring ten Boeing 787 jetliners to be delivered in 2009. The airline currently owns 32 aircraft and serves 50 international destinations.
According to Mr Girma, the airline used to suffer major losses, but said since it started flying jet planes for local routes, the airline has paid off its debt and started enjoying profit.
Ethiopia Airline hopes to boost operating revenue by more than 6 percent to $1 billion this year. Ethiopia's government has an ambitions plan to attract one million tourists to Ethiopia by 2010, four times the current number. Tourism represents just 2.5 percent of Ethiopia's gross national product.
Ethiopian Airlines was founded on 30 December 1945, with the first international scheduled service inaugurated between Addis Ababa and Cairo on 8 April 1946.
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