Ethiopian Marks One Year Since the First Preighter Operation on Passenger Aircraft

ADDIS ABABA – On this day last year, Ethiopian Airlines operated its first cargo only service on a passenger aircraft with its Boeing B787-900.

The flight departed on 25th of March 2020 from Addis Ababa to Kinshasa carrying more than 16 tons of much-needed PPE and other shipments inside the cabin and the belly of the aircraft.



Following the sharp decline in passenger number due to the pandemic, Ethiopian swiftly shifted focus to cargo operations and became among the very few pioneers to load cargo on passenger aircraft’s cabin.

Immediately afterwards, Ethiopian demonstrated remarkable agility in its response to the increased cargo demand in the wake of the pandemic by reconfiguring 25 passenger aircraft into freighters using its own internal MRO capabilities and distributed the much-needed Personal Protective Equipment and medical supplies across the globe.

A year since its first Preighter operation, Ethiopian has operated 5,645 Cargo flights on the cabin of passenger aircraft and transported more than 121,750 tons of cargo across its vast global network.

The flights added an immense value to the total of 33,182 flights and 735,869 tons of cargo transported during the period from March 25, 2020 to March 25,2021. 

“The single Preighter flight that started on this day last year has helped our airline navigate the storm so far. We are extremely honored to have served our customers during the most difficult times,”  said Ethiopian Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, while Commenting on the milestone.

“Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services has been a critical player in the global fight against the pandemic by distributing medical supplies and PPE to places with limited access to transportation,” the CEO added.

Since the start of its first cargo flight on passenger seat last year, Ethiopian has been increasing its capacity to become an ideal shipment partner of many humanitarian organizations including the WFP.

The airline is currently working in collaboration with UNICEF and Cainiao for the global vaccine distribution.

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