Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive officer, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, has been selected among one of the 100 most influential people in Africa for the second time.
The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines has had to navigate the biggest crisis in the history of the international aviation sector as Covid-19 grounded planes and emptied the continent’s busiest airports.
An employee of the airline for more than 35 years, GebreMariam made an early decision during the pandemic to temporarily switch to transporting cargo, which he says helped to avert financial ruin by allowing the airline to maintain an income stream when around 90 percent of its passenger fleet was grounded.
Still, by April the airline had lost $550m since January, and the crisis is far from over. The IATA predicts the continent will hit just 30 percent of 2019 passenger levels, down significantly from the 45 percent it projected in July.
That means Africa will see just 45m travellers this year, compared to 155m in 2019, with numbers likely to be significantly down across all of Ethiopian Airlines’ remaining routes.
Nevertheless, the airline is looking for opportunities amid the rubble, and entered initial talks over a potential rescue of the stricken South African Airways, which it could help to manage.
The move hints at the continent-wide ambitions of the airline even at what is likely to be its lowest ebb.
Meanwhile, the entire 17,000 employees of Ethiopian Airlines Group have congratulated its Group CEO for being selected as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa for the second time.
A statement by the employees explained that: “As employees of the airline group, it is a special privilege for all of us to be led by a globally recognized and renowned leader in the last decade who has been showered with so many awards and accolades.
They employees continued that “in his 10 years as GCEO of the airline group, we have witnessed not only fourfold of growth in all measurements, but he has led the airline to successfully manage many existential global crises including the unprecedented crisis of the global pandemic of COVID-19.
While we congratulate him once again, we wish him the best of health and many more success”.