ADDIS ABABA-- Ethiopian Airlines has reported a record net profit of 6.8 billion birr (about 245 million US dollars) in the just ended Ethiopian fiscal year, says its chief executive officer, Tewolde Gebremariam.

The national flag carrier generated an operating revenue of 89.1 billion birr, an increase of 43 per cent on the previous year, while carrying 10.6 million passengers and 400,339 tons of cargo, up 21 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, he added.

Ethiopian Airlines was also accorded for the first time a four-star rating by SKYTRAX, the leading customer service rating organization in the airline industry, this fiscal year, he said.

Despite these successes, he said that Ethiopian faced challenges, including economic crisis and instability in the continent as well as fuel price hikes, among others.

Tewolde pointed out that the airline's remarkable achievements cam against a backdrop of aggressive penetration by foreign carriers into the African market with the African airline industry collectively forecast to lose money.

He said Ethiopian Airlines had introduced into service 14 additional new aircraft and opened eight new international destinations during the last fiscal year.

Ethiopian Airlines has a 49 per cent equity stake in Guinea Airlines, 45 per cent of Zambia Airlines, 49 per cent of Chad Airlines and full ownership of Ethiopian-Mozambique Airlines, according to Tewolde.