ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, announced it will resume passenger flights to UAE’s Dubai on Sunday.
The UAE suspended entry from Addis Ababa – Africa’s largest aviation hubs – and several other African destinations to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the wake of the new Omicron variant in the continent.
The-four-week bank has now been lifted.
“We are pleased to announce the resumption of our services to Dubai as of January 29,” the Airlines said on Thursday via its Facebook page.
The Omicron induced travel ban has affected the airline’s passenger flights with more countries imposed restrictions.
“The tourist part of travel is not recovering as much as expected,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, speaking at the Travel and Connectivity Business Forum at Expo 2020, earlier this Month.
“Unfortunately, many countries are still closing their borders and we have not been able to bring passengers to Dubai for almost a month now,” he said.
“The Delta (variant) did its own damage last year and now Omicron is a big challenge – the (global) response has been scattered and uncoordinated.”
The booming demand for air cargo service, however, has made the airlines remain cash positive with rates rising due to an online shopping surge and pandemic-linked supply chain disruptions driving demand for cargo space.
“For us, Ethiopian Airlines, the cargo business is strong and I would say is a breadwinner in the group,” Tewolde said.
The airline, which he said managed the pandemic with its own finances and without bailouts, is operating close to 70% of its pre-pandemic capacity, and had given staff pay rises and bonuses.
“We are cash-positive. We are profitable.”