Ethiopian Airlines cuts intl flights as crisis bites

Ethiopian Airlines said on Monday it was cutting flights to the United States and China as the global financial crisis hit passenger numbers.

Girma Wake, chief executive officer of the airline — one of Africa‘s leading carriers — said they had seen a fall in the number of incoming passengers coming from the two countries.

“Ethiopian Airlines began to feel passenger and cargo contraction in November 2008, but December 2008 was when the changes became noticeable,” he said in a statement.

Girma said the six weekly flights to the United States would be cut to four, while the number of weekly flights to China had been cut to 12 from 14. The airline hopes to boost operating revenue by more than 6 percent to $1 billion this year.

Tourism represents just 2.5 percent of Ethiopia‘s gross national product. But the government has set an ambitious goal of attracting a million foreign visitors a year by 2010, quadrupling current figures. (Reuters)