The Ethiopian Airlines is to embark on a major cargo terminal expansion project at its hub at the Bole International Airport.
Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told The Reporter that as the country’s import export is growing, the demand for cargo hauling service is also growing. To meet the growing demand the airline is to build a new cargo terminal and order for new cargo aircraft. With six cargo aircraft – 2 757-200F, 2 MD11 and 2 Boeing B747 – Ethiopian has the largest cargo fleet in Africa.
In order to assist the flowering horticulture business the airlines is undertaking various activities. Previously, the management had completed the architectural design of the new cargo terminal and floated a tender. However, since the offered prices were by far larger than estimated, it cancelled the bid. With the view of reducing the cost the management is now redesigning the planned cargo terminal. The airline will soon put up a tender that will enable it to select the company that will construct the terminal.
“We are redesigning the perishable cargo warehouse (cold storage) expansion project so that it includes the whole warehouse expansion (both the dry cargo warehouse and perishable cargo ware house) expansion,” Tewolde told The Reporter. “We will be floating the bid soon.”
Ethiopian is also in the process to place orders state of the art cargo aircraft.
“We are also seriously evaluating to acquire the B-777 freighter aircraft. Today, this is the most efficient freighter aircraft in the world, especially in today’s high fuel price environment. This is in line with our vision 2025 freighter fleet plan,” Tewolde said. “We will soon start negotiation with Boeing.” Ethiopian has been providing cargo services for the Ethiopian horticulture sector at a time when there were few exporters and the airline served those handful of exporters with loss.
With the view to launch new cargo flight destinations, the management of Ethiopian is undertaking a study. “We are also studying market diversification to the flower export destinations. This is being conducted with the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association and the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency.” The amount of cargo being hauled by the national flag carrier has increased from 42,000 tonnes to 110,000 in the past five years.
In cooperation with IATA, Ethiopian will also start working on E-Freight and Cargo-2000 compliance projects to enable ET to fully comply with the requirements.
Kaleyesus Bekele, Reporter