An article in the Financial Times has reported that buyers are using Ethiopia instead of the United States and Europe as a staging ground for respirators purchased in China and bound for Latin America. The move occurs after cargoes of respirators purchased from China were seized during refueling stops in Europe and the U.S. The Governor of Maranhão State in Brazil said the shift to Ethiopia has gone well.
Girum Abebe, Director for Latin America at Ethiopian Airlines, told the Financial Times that they offered to help after realizing that the Latin American countries needed assistance. As passenger usage declined because of COVID-19, the airline converted 25 of the company’s 130 aircraft to cargo, and has been delivering medical equipment to Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina.