Ethiopian Airlines (IATA: ET) has emerged as a possible saviour to some African airlines amid the coronavirus crisis, which is also having a considerable impact on the African airline industry. Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa’s three biggest carriers, alongside South African Airways and Kenya Airways. However, with the former reportedly having filed for bankruptcy last month and the latter having asked for government aid, ET is now taking advantage of this situation and has been in talks with a few airlines about revivals and partnerships.
As the carrier’s Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam stated in an interview on Tuesday, the airline is currently in talks with the Mauritian government about reviving the country’s national carrier. Air Mauritius was placed into administration last month following an abrupt decline in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. The CEO mentioned that whilst an agreement hadn’t yet been reached regarding what type of partnership or joint venture it would be, the Mauritian government had expressed its intention of restarting the business with Ethiopian Airlines and talks were underway. Additionally, Tewolde expressed his willingness to discuss with the South African government a way out to the country’s bankrupt national carrier. He stated that while there are no negotiations currently taking place with South Africa, he would be open to a conversation about that country’s bankrupt national airline. Discussions had already been held between the two airlines this past January, without a fruitful outcome.
Although Ethiopian Airlines expects to lose around US$1 billion by the end of the fiscal year which ends in June, it looks like its is the “fittest” airline in the region and is fighting to obtain dominance.