Ethiopian set to expand perishable cargo terminal

Ethiopian Airlines, which has the largest cargo fleet in Africa, is set to embark on a major cargo terminal expansion project at its hub inside the Bole International Airport and expand its freighter fleet on the back of growing import/export demand.

The carrier is in the process of laying down the design specifications of the new cargo terminal – which will include facilities for horticultural cargo – after a previous effort was scrapped after being considered too expensive. Once the redesign is complete it will be put up for tender, the carrier said. The new terminal will expand Ethiopian’s current state-of-the-art facility which has a capacity of 350,000 tonnes of cargo annually – with 2,000 square meters, or 15 per cent of the building’s area, dedicated for handling of perishables – by an estimated 125,000 tonnes annually. Ethiopian Cargo is also in the process of placing an order for for more freighters to add to its current fleet of two B757-200Fs, two MD11s and two B747-200Fs. “We are seriously evaluating acquiring B777 freighter aircraft, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told The Reporter. “This is the most efficient freighter aircraft in the world, especially in today’s high fuel price environment. This is in line with our vision 2025 freighter fleet plan,” he added. In addition, the airline provides cargo services in the belly space of passenger fleet of B767-300, B757-200, B777-200 LR, B737-700 and B737-800 on a charter and scheduled basis. Ethiopian operates over 40 cargo destinations spread acrossAfrica, Europe, Asia and the Middle East via its major hub in Addis Ababa. Aside from its home hub, Ethiopian Cargo has its Europe hub in Liege, its Middle East hub in Dubai and its Asia hub in Hong Kong. Madras and Mumbai are also major cargo originating points. A virtual pioneer in the African air cargo scene, Ethiopian launched its first cargo charter operations to Nairobi, Kenya in 1946. The carrier’s cargo division now contributes 15 per cent of total revenue of the airline.