ANTWERP, Belgium, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is costing Ethiopian Airlines $8 million a month in lost revenue, as the disease is putting travellers off the entire continent, the airline’s chief executive said on Thursday.
“For us, the Ebola effect is stronger than any slowdown in the global economy,” Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Africa’s largest carrier, told Reuters on the sidelines of the CAPA World Aviation Summit.
The outbreak in West Africa is especially affecting demand for travellers from Asia, he said. Emirates has also said demand from Asia has been hurt by the outbreak.
“I hope that in the coming few months things will go back to normal,” Gebremariam said.
The fast-growing airline is also evaluating Boeing’s 777x, the Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 as it seeks to expand its fleet, with a decision on an order to come next year, he added.
“We are evaluating the 777x and we will add more 787-900s,” he said, adding he would also look at buying more A350s.
He said the number to be ordered was under review, but highlighted plans to double its fleet to 150 aircraft by 2025.
Ethiopian in September announced an order for 20 737 Max planes. It also has 10 A350 on order and is awaiting delivery of 3 787s in early 2015.
Reporting by Victoria Bryan