Ethiopian Airlines is strategically positioning itself to tap into the rapidly growing Chinese market by launching new flight routes, with Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, serving as a gateway to Africa, according to the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mesfin Tasew.
Tasew emphasized the significance of China as a key market for Ethiopian Airlines, highlighting the airline’s extensive history of connecting China with Africa over the past five decades. In a recent interview with Xinhua, he expressed the airline’s commitment to enhancing cooperation with China through increased flight frequencies and the addition of new destinations.
Ethiopian Airlines recently introduced a freighter service to Chengdu, a bustling city in southwestern China, just under two weeks ago. Tasew underscored the airline’s view of China as a pivotal driver of its future growth, citing the rising number of investors and business travelers commuting between China and Africa.
The CEO also revealed that Ethiopian Airlines’ cargo flights to China serve not only Africa but also Europe, demonstrating the airline’s significant cargo operation in China. The airline has been working closely with Chinese business leaders to facilitate the export of their manufactured goods to Africa, Europe, and other parts of the world.
As of now, Ethiopian Airlines operates flights to five Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hong Kong, totaling 52 weekly flights—28 for passengers and 24 for cargo.
Highlighting the airline’s historical ties with China, Tasew mentioned that Ethiopian Airlines initiated flights to Shanghai in 1973 and swiftly expanded to Beijing the same year. He affirmed that China remains a vital destination in Asia for the airline.
Tasew stressed the instrumental role Ethiopian Airlines plays in connecting Africa to China, with Addis Ababa acting as a central gateway to 63 cities across Africa.
He also acknowledged the airline’s pivotal role in transporting critical medical supplies from China to Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tasew noted that Ethiopian Airlines has experienced significant growth in its flights to China since the beginning of the year.
As the number of Chinese companies investing in Ethiopia and other African nations continues to rise, Tasew sees ample opportunities for the airline to facilitate business travel and contribute to strengthening business relationships between China and Africa.
In closing, Tasew expressed the airline’s commitment to expanding its services and providing increased access to the vast African market for Chinese travelers. He believes that Ethiopian Airlines will remain a key player in fostering economic and diplomatic ties between China and Africa in the years ahead.