Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airline reported that one of its planes caught fire while parked at Shanghai Pudong Airport in China. The blaze was centralized to the fuselage area, as fire fighters rushed to the scene.
The air cargo was identified as a five-year-old 777 Freighter, which had arrived from Brussels at 11:51 and scheduled to depart to Brazil according to an online news blog for aviation news.
“The aircraft is thought to be ET-ARH, a 5-year old 777 Freighter. It arrived from Brussels at 11:51 (GMT+8) and scheduled to depart to Brazil’s São Paulo GRU,” said aviation news
Ethiopian airline later issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the incident, as it emerged that no one was injured and the blaze was quickly put out by the Chinese airport firefighters.
“All ground staff and flying crew are safe. Ethiopian has collaborated with all concerned authorities and contained the fire,” said Ethiopian Airline.
The Ethiopian cargo and passenger air planes, are said to be one of the top planes that have been facilitating the movement of goods across Africa from other continents during this current COVID-19 pandemic. Currently Ethiopian Airline has a section of planes that are only responsible for transporting pharmaceutical drugs from different countries to different destinations, this was revealed by the Group CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam.
“We have the most extensive cargo network, the largest fleet, the largest cargo terminal, the most interconnections. I am optimistic that we will definitely return to normal. Our long-term strategy remains unchanged,” said Gebremariam.
The airline is also serving a crucial role in the repatriation of citizens from Africa to other parts of the world and from other continents to Africa.
Ethiopian Airline is the world’s 4th largest airline in terms of the number of countries it has served, passenger carriage and number of planes.
Most of the countries in Africa have temporarily closed their airlines, due to COVID-19, but have allowed some specific airlines to transport essential goods and services only, mostly of the essential goods that are being transported are COVID-19 medical equipment or protective wear.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent