ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian Airlines Group has won the ‘Overall Excellence for Outstanding Crisis Leadership 2020 Award’ from Global Finance magazine, the airlines said on Tuesday.
The award recognizes companies that went above and beyond in responding to the global pandemic crisis and in assisting their customers, protecting their employees and providing critical support to society at large.
“We are glad to have won the ‘Overall Excellence for Outstanding Crisis Leadership 2020 Award’ which recognizes our distinct capabilities of successful management of multiple crises taking place simultaneously like a perfect storm,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group CEO.
Tewolde said the coronavirus pandemic has “resulted in panic, fear and hopelessness in the industry” since its start eleven months ago.
But, the CEO said the national flag carrier has “demonstrated resilience, agility and speed of decision making”. This includes turning its attention to meeting the surge in demand for air freight, repurposing 25 passenger jets to build out its cargo fleet.
The national flag carrier is among the global airlines which played a leading role in transporting medical supplies and stranded people after COVID-19 struck.
“We have reconfigured 25 passenger airplanes for cargo only flights and we also availed the remaining passenger airplanes for repatriation of stranded people to connect with their loved ones back home,” Tewolde said.
The airlines operated over 360 charter cargo flights and carried medical supplies to over 80 countries besides reuniting more than 63,000 citizens of different countries through charter repatriation flights since the outbreak.
The quick decision has helped the airlines to avoid seeking a bailout, laying off any full-time employees or requesting deferrals on debt payments, and reported at least $44 million for the first half of the year alone.
“As a socially responsible airline, we stood in solidarity with the world during the unprecedented crisis and served communities around the globe to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic challenges,” CEO of the airlines said.
The airline is now targeting to repeat its globally recognized success in delivery medical supplies “with similar delivery speed and professional handling during the forthcoming global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine” Tewolde said.