By Kenneth Ehigiator
Despite the globalÂ Â meltdown which currently hangs major airlines in the world in the balance, Ethiopian Airlines has more than doubled its annual net profit to $118.6 million.
This comes as the airline has splashed a whopping $4.5 billion on 25 aircraft orders, ranging from Boeing to Airbus and Bombadier.
The last financial yearâ€™s profit is a marked improvement on the 2007/2008, which stood at $46.9 million.
According to a statement issued by the airline, operating revenue for the year has, as at June, 2009, risen by 32.8 percent to about $1.2 billion.
Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Ato Girma Wake, also said passenger numbers rose 12.3 percent to 2.8 million, while cargo increased 38.4 percent compared with the previous year.
He attributed th improve profit margin on the series of cost-cutting strategies adopted by the airline in the aftermath of ongoing global meltdown
He said:Â â€œOur profits increased due to an aggressive marketing campaign and a major cost-cutting effort.Â We introduced seven new routes which also contributed to our growth, including routes to Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.â€
Wake said Ethiopian Airlines had placed orders for five 777-200 LR (long range) planes made by Boeing, twelve A350-900s from Airbus and eight Q400 turboprops from Bombardier at a total cost of USD$4.5 billion.
He said the airline had paid down payments for all the aircraft on order and planned to take out loans from European and US banks to pay for the balance.
According to Wake, Boeing is due to deliver the planes by 2010, while the Airbus aircraft are expected to be received by 2017.