Ethiopia and the United Nations (UN) opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport on Tuesday, April 14
– The arrangement relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines and could partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier was sustaining because of COVID-19
– Ethiopia’s national carrier also bagged a deal to fly COVID-19 medical supplies across Africa
Ethiopian Airlines has bagged a lucrative deal to fly cargo across Africa in the wake of coronavirus pandemic even as Kenya Airways (KQ) cry foul over the deal.
This came after Ethiopia and the United Nations (UN) opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport on Tuesday, April 14, to move supplies and aid workers across Africa to fight COVID-19.
An Ethiopian cargo plane on air. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.
The arrangement, which relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines, could partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier is sustaining because of the pandemic that has halted most of its operations especially transport of passengers.
“The UN World Food Programme chooses Addis Ababa as a humanitarian shipment hub for Africa to distribute medical supplies with the Ethiopian. We are pleased to serve amidst this challenging time,” the airline tweeted.
The UN World Food Program chooses Addis Ababa as a humanitarian shipment hub for Africa to distribute medical supplies with #Ethiopian.
We are pleased to serve amidst this challenging time.
Ethiopia’s country director for the WFP Steven Were Omamo said an initial shipment of 3,000 cubic metres of supplies most of it personal protective equipment for health workers would be distributed within the next week.
“This is a really important platform in the response to COVID-19, because what it does is it allows us to move with speed and efficiency to respond to the needs as they are unfolding,” Omamo said.
Kenya Airways has made billions of losses in recent years. Photo: Kenya Airways.
The loss-making KQ has earlier protested the move by the government to hand a cargo deal to its rival the Ethiopian Airlines.
“We have objected the move to have Ethiopian Airlines use their passenger flights for cargo business in Kenya because we were not consulted on the impact that this would have on our business, KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka told Business Daily.
Meanwhile, according to Herald Reporter Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 777-200ER aircraft left Harare for Ethiopia for mandatory periodic maintenance, which could not be carried out in Harare due to the unavailability of special maintenance equipment.
The maintenance is said to be critical in ensuring that the aircraft remains serviceable in line with the ongoing process of dry leasing it.
In a statement yesterday, Airzim said they had licensed engineers on contract from Asia Aero Technic of Malaysia, but the maintenance tasks could not be completed successfully to the required conformance standards in Zimbabwe in the absence of technical rigs and test equipment.
“The National Airline today at 1138hrs positioned its B777-200ER Reg# Z-RGM to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia, for special mandatory periodic maintenance which could not be carried out in Harare owing to the unavailability of special maintenance equipment,” said Airzim.
The airline said discussions and negotiations were at an advanced stage with potential short-listed lessees and a final position would be officially communicated once an agreement had been signed.
It is hoped that an agreement could be thrashed in the “next coming few months as we continue to monitor the effects and milestones in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The activation of a lease agreement will bring in the much-needed foreign currency revenue for Airzim to augment its current aircraft fleet with an option of outright purchases or lease of smaller aircrafts.
The initiative is part of Airzim’s strategic turnaround plan
Source The Herald