The long-standing partnership between both players has been renewed and extended until 2026. As a consequence of the agreement inked now, Ethiopian announced that it would be increasing its cargo flights between Liege and Africa. “In the next five years, we will work to transform our freighter operation to serve Europe better with our renewed commitment with Liege Airport,” Enquanhone Minyashal, the carrier’s Cargo and Logistics Services Acting Managing Director, declared during the signing.
Trail blazer for an even stronger engagement
Ethiopian Cargo is one of Liege Airport’s most loyal customers, serving Belgium’s leading cargo hub with regular tonnage for the last 15 years. From day one until now, Ethiopian has operated 15,000 freighter flights into LGG, nearing the total figure of 1 million tons of cargo carried, Steven Verhasselt, LGG’s Vice President Commercial, applauded. This partnership, both parties emphasized on the occasion of the enhanced and deepened cooperation agreement signing, will become even closer in the coming years. “We are glad to have renewed our partnership agreement with our long-standing partner airport at a time when we are registering tremendous growth in our cargo destinations and capacity,“ ET Cargo manager, Minyashal stated. He pointed out that the renewed commitment with Liege Airport is the basis for an even stronger commitment of the carrier’s cargo arm in LGG. ET operates freighter flights to Addis Ababa, its central hub, and complements these with nonstop services from the Walloon airport to Africa and beyond. “ET fluctuates with the seasons of course, but has an average of a minimum 20 flights a week into LGG, serving Addis Ababa out of Liege, of course, but also West Africa and South Africa, Asia (China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai), and South America,” Mr. Verhasselt explained.
Enhanced ground facility
In order to further increase the attractiveness of Liege for the East African freight carrier, the LGG managers have heavily invested in the expansion of the ground infrastructure by establishing a dedicated cargo terminal in the northern part of the airport. The hub is an option for the future.
“If ET continues to grow in LGG, and they want to move to a dedicated warehouse, we will give them that opportunity as soon as a warehouse becomes available. Currently, all the warehouses are occupied, so this is for the next phase of LGG’s expansion,” Mr. Verhasselt detailed.
Charters complement scheduled flights
In addition to scheduled flights, Africa’s leading passenger and cargo carrier also offers dedicated capacity on the main decks of its freighters to the market. In doing so, the ET sales staff have managed to deploy more than 450 charter flights on behalf of customers, mainly for the transport of large volumes of PPE items and vaccines destined to 24 different countries.
The fleet operated by Ethiopian consists of modern aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter or Bombardier Q-400 double cabin.
Based in Addis Ababa, the airline is implementing a 15-year strategic plan called “Vision 2025“ that will see it becoming the leading aviation group in Africa with six business units: Ethiopian International Services; Cargo & Logistics Services; MRO Services; Aviation Academy; ADD Hub Ground Services, and Ethiopian Airports Services.
The MAX disaster
On 10MAR19, the carrier suffered a major setback without any fault on its part when one of its brand-new Boeing 737 MAX jetliners crashed 6 minutes after takeoff at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 159 people on board. Investigations revealed that electronic malfunctions related to automated software known as MCAS caused the tragedy that resembled the crash of a MAX operated by Indonesian carrier Lion Air in OCT18. The two crashes plunged Boeing into the biggest crisis in the U.S. planemaker’s history, leading to the grounding of all B737 MAX jetliners and the halting of its production until recently.
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