Plan to privatise Ethiopian Airlines suspended

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By BBC Africa 

Ethiopia has "temporarily" suspended plans to partially privatise its flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines, following a review of its performance during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is one of the biggest companies the Ethiopian government pledged to partially open for privatisation.

The idea was part of the economic and political reforms ushered in after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.

But now, it says that Africa’s largest airline will remain in the hands of the government - at least for the time being.

The announcement was made by Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide, during his presentation of the first quarter reports of the Ethiopian fiscal year. He said the airline has continued to generate much needed foreign currency for the country amid the pandemic.

Ethiopian Airlines had previously said it had lost more than $900m (£696m) in earnings from passenger flights during the pandemic.

But it is one of the few airlines across the world to stay relatively stable, largely due to a shift from passenger flights to cargo as countries closed their airspaces.

It changed 27 of its passenger planes into freight transportation.

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