Ethiopian Airlines recently announced expansion of its network to Chengdu, the capital city of southwestern Sichuan province, marking the fifth Chinese city in the airline’s expanding map.
The new flight is due to start on June 5 and will fly between Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and Chengdu. It will be the Chinese city’s first direct flight to Africa.
The flights will operate three times a week by Boeing 787-800, cutting flight time to nine and a half hours, the airline said.
Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said he is very much looking forward to the launch of the new route.
“Since we flew to China for the first time 43 years ago, we have seen China as the most important market,” he said.
The addition of the new route will increase the airline’s weekly flights to China to 34. Currently it operates daily flights to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong and also 10 weekly flights to Guangzhou.
Meanwhile, as the new year turned, Ethiopian Airlines took a moment to congratulate itself on its 2016 performance in a press release that had an interesting update on its ambitious new cargo terminal, which is now 82 percent complete, and expected to be operational in April 2017.
Upon completion, the Addis Ababa facility will have an annual storage capacity of 1.2 million tonnes and will be able to handle eight 747-800 freighters at a time. Construction of the first phase will cost approximately US$150 million. The new facility is billed as one of the largest of its kind in the world, and is central to Ethiopian’s plans to go up against Middle Eastern carriers and bolster its dominance in the African market.
Gebremariam noted in the release that, “upon completion, our uplifting capability will be equivalent to the cargo terminals at Amsterdam Schiphol, Singapore Changi or Hong Kong.”
The new cargo terminal is part of Ethiopian Cargo’s Vision 2025, aimed to support the country’s export of perishables including flowers, fruits, vegetables and meat. That plan includes expansion of its freighter network to eighteen aircraft serving 37 international cargo destinations by 2025.
Source: chinadaily.com.cn | Jan 10
Additional info: Air cargo world