Ethiopia: Former Ginbot 7 official Neamin Zeleke talks about the self-disbanding of Ginbot 7 to create a new political party
Going forward we made that distinction. There is also financial decisions, dilemmas to decide. When you order much longer a head of time before delivery the pre delivery payment (PDP) and the interest kicks in and it makes it expensive up on delivery. When you make the purchase decision closer to the delivery time the aircraft price go up. Especially when the airplane succeeds in the market or becomes very popular in the market. So we have to always compare this balance.
Who is your insurer? How are you going to compensate the victims’ families?
The aviation insurance is a bit complex. There is no one insurer. There are syndicates of underwriters. I think we have more than ten mostly based in Europe. The insurance is syndicated in London in the Lloyd’s insurance market. We will deal with them. The compensation will take its own international regulation and process.
Have you filed compensation for the aircraft?
It does not work that way. Both for our airplane and for the victims’ families the insurers take the lead and they follow the international regulation of course they will consult with us and they settle the claim. But later on there will be some kind of subrogation with Boeing insurers.
As Ethiopian Airlines is a state-owned enterprise its insurer is Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC) and there are some reinsurers involved.
No. The EIC has a very small coverage I think it is less than two percent.
Though you have a long relationship with Boeing you had some issues with the B787. Now you have serious problem with B737 MAX aircraft. There is also one pushing factor from Boeing – the US EXIM Bank has suspended operation. Some industry analysts assert that Ethiopian Airlines will strengthen its new partnership with Airbus. What is your comment on that?
It is a very interesting question. As you know we are a customer of Boeing for a long time. Actually one can say that the aviation industry in Ethiopia is a brain child of US aviation industry. Ethiopian Airlines itself was established by Emperor Haile-Selassie I with the support of Trans World Airline (TWA), a US airline. I believe Emperor Haile-Selassie was very strategic and visionary leader. In the early stage of the airline with a humble beginning we needed support from the developed world particularly from the US with the largest aviation industry. There was a management contract signed with TWA. Ever since we have always used Boeing airplanes; of course we have also used Canadian airplanes-DH-6 and DH-5, Macdonald Douglas airplanes and Fokker airplanes, a Dutch company. Now we are using Bombardier Q400, another Canadian company. We are also using Airbus aircraft.
While Boeing has a dominant fleet we also use other airplanes. The relationship with Boeing has always been cordial. It has always been a win-win and very good relationship. It is more of a partnership based on mutual trust and confidence. So we have every reason that this relationship will continue if not strengthened more. Of course in any partnership there are hiccups here and there. I agree with you we had some hiccups with the B787 with the delay and the battery issue which grounded the airplane for a couple of months. But we have resolved them. The fact that we have resolved them those problems shows you how the relationship is strong enough to withstand any kind of turbulence that we face together. So that gives you confidence that we will overcome the current problem that both of us are facing. But again with the mutual trust and confidence we will overcome this challenge and we will continue our relationship. At the same time we will also build our relationship with other manufacturers. We will work Bombardier, Airbus-the A350 is a very good airplane. We have 24 of them on order 11 delivered.