Ethiopian Airlines sets to expand its central Africa route

Ethiopian Airlines,  joined the Star Alliance this week, to collaborate in providing better connectivity on the continent.

Ethiopian Airlines has been around for over 60 years and through the passage of time has grown to become Africa’s biggest airline and undeniable emerging force on the international scene. Its sustained growth has fueled the development of the most comprehensive pan-African route network.

Along with Ethiopian Airline’s sister carrier Asky Airlines, which was launched last year and is based inLome, Togo, the alliance members will cover all four points of the continent.  Asky is yet to get airborne but is expected to serve the West African region with Ethiopian servicing longer routes from the region. However, central Africa remains underserved and a new airline would be an ideal platform to feed the three main alliance members .

Mr Zulu, SAA manager said that there was a need for a regional airline in central Africa . “While SAA, Ethiopian Airlines and Egypt Air will provide the truck routes, there is a need to get a regional airline to feed the larger carriers. Therefore we are supportive of a new airline in the central region and will assist where we can,” said Mr Zulu.

“However, there is no discussion of taking an equity stake in a new venture.”

Mr Zulu confirmed discussions were being held to establish an airline but could not supply details.

Lufthansa’s CEO Christoph Franz welcomed the efforts by Ethiopian Airlines and SAA to found a new airline as it saw a need for a quality airline in West Africa and central Africa to support its African route network.

“Depending on how this airline is structured, there is a possibility that Lufthansa would support this new airline with a limited financial engagement,” the company said.

SAA CEO Siza Mzimela said in August there was a huge demand for flights between East Africa and West Africa and the airline was exploring opportunities and alliances . “Sure, there is increased competition on many routes, but Africa is still full of opportunity,” she said at the time.

Ethiopian flies to a growing number of destinations throughout Ethiopia, across Africa & on to Europe, the U.S., Asia and the Middle East. The Airline’s policy of route expansion is mirrored by advances in fleet development. Today, Ethiopian operates a modern fleet that includes Boeing 767, 757, and 737 jets. An on-going fleet enhancement policy also ensures that Ethiopian’s fleet will continue to reflect the latest developments in passenger and cargo aircraft technology. Inline with this policy, Ethiopian has placed a firm order for 10 of the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2011.

The addition of Ethiopian Airlines to the Star Alliance will open new markets to SAA in East Africa. Ethiopian Airlines will add five new countries — Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Mali and Niger — and 24 African destinations to the network.

You can book cheap flights with Ethiopian Airlines to all major destinations by calling 0207 101 9682.


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