Effective 03rd of June will Ethiopian Airlines launch their fifth destination in China, when nonstop flights between Addis Ababa and Chengdu will commence.
Using a two class Boeing B787 will the initial three flights per week leave the Ethiopian capital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning to Addis Ababa on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Departure time is set from ADD at ten minutes past midnight, giving connecting passengers from across Africa ample time to connect to the Chengdu service. Landing of the return flights is scheduled for 06.20 hrs (a.m.), again providing instant and short wait onward connections to the rest of the continent.
Chengdu is China's seventh largest city and a key industrial, logistics, trade, IT and transport hub.
Notably does Ethiopian in conjunction with Star Alliance partner Air China then offer a range of onward destinations beyond Chengdu for passengers destined for such cities as Shenzhen, Kunming, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Wuhan, Changsha, and Urumqi.
Said the airline's CEO Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam when making the announcement earlier today: 'We are glad to launch services to Chengdu, our fifth gateway to The Republic of China. Since our first flight 43 years ago, China has been a key market and it is now the largest per country market in our system. Using the geocentric location advantage of our hub in Addis Ababa we are connecting China, the world's second largest economy and Africa’s biggest trade and investment partner, with 52 cities in the continent of Africa.
With the addition of Chengdu, we shall offer the best and fastest connectivity options with a total of 34 weekly flights to China, operated with the latest and most comfortable B787 and B777 aircraft. Our Chinese customers will also enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian's vast intra African network and further to São Paulo in Brazil.
Ethiopian is investing to make Addis Ababa a Chinese friendly hub airport for the continent. We now have Mandarin translators and signage available at the airport transit area and in the Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge. Chinese New Year is also marked every year at Addis Ababa Airport'.
Ethiopian was the first African airline and the fourth in the world to fly to China as early as 1973. In addition to the three weekly flights to Chengdu to be launched in June, Ethiopian currently also operates daily nonstop flights to Beijing, 10 weekly nonstop services to Guangzhou and 6 weekly nonstop flights to Hong Kong.
In a related development is the decision now nearing which manufacturer will provide the next generation of smaller single aisle jets to Ethiopian Airlines. Speculation is mounting that the Bombardier's CS Series - Ethiopian is already successfully flying 15 Bombardier Q400NG's - may become the aircraft of choice.
Ethiopian's aviation academy already operates a simulator for the Bombardier Q400 and also offers maintenance services for this aircraft type, making a valid case to further strengthen the relationship between the airline group and Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.