Interview: Ethiopian airline envisages greater Africa-China air connectivity

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-05 18:26:15|Editor: xuxin
Video PlayerClose

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Airlines (ET), the fastest growing aviation group in Africa, revealed on Tuesday its ambition of becoming the most Chinese-friendly airline in Africa, with various initiatives in the pipeline to boost air connectivity between Africa and China.

Ethiopia's flag carrier, which serves close to 4,000 Chinese passengers on a daily basis via the East African country's major international flights hub at Bole International Airport in the capital Addis Ababa, said that the ambition towards augmenting its alliance with Chinese passengers is gaining momentum with the help of Chinese-centered in-flight as well as various other passenger services.

"Chinese nationals are very important customers of ours," Biniyam Demssie, Ethiopian Airlines' Media Relations Team Leader, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Demssie, who emphasized China's growing presence in Africa together with robust future investment plans, stressed ET's keen interest to further broaden its network of linking Africa and China.

"ET has put in place a dedicated check-in counter at Bole Airport and hired Chinese customer service agents to best serve our esteemed Chinese customers," Demssie told Xinhua.

"China is one of our biggest markets," Demssie said, as he described the vital contribution of traveling Chinese nationals for the airline's flight services and overall businesses.

With five dedicated flight routes to China, ET is now the largest airline in Africa connecting the continent with five major Chinese cities that are Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Amid its vision of becoming Chinese travelers' favorite carrier, the airline last week inaugurated the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa.

The airline's Chinese restaurant, situated at the newly functional Chinese-built Ethiopian Skylight Hotel in close proximity to Bole International Airport, is said to offer additional comfort to Chinese passengers, either traveling to Ethiopia or on transit from elsewhere in Africa.

According to Demssie, the newly inaugurated restaurant, as the latest addition of the airline's vision to comfort its Chinese passengers, serves Chinese as well as other nationals with fresh and exquisite Chinese food prepared by Chinese chefs.

Installed with six private dining rooms, the restaurant is also said to serve as a landmark venue for Chinese nationals who are currently staying in the East African country.

"When we say that Ethiopian Airlines is the most Chinese friendly airline, it's not without anything. It's because of numerous things that we put in place," said Esayas Woldemariam, Managing Director of Ethiopian Airline's International Service, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"We have a Chinese help desk here at the hub for passengers passing through here to Africa and coming back, we have Chinese staff here, we have Chinese crew on board, we have Chinese food, and we have Chinese call-center," Woldemariam said.

Bian Yueming, Assistant Manager of Chinese Help Desk at Bole International Airport, also recently underlined that the various packages put in place by ET have eliminated the hustle Chinese passengers would have faced otherwise.

"Chinese passengers feel as if they are at home," Bian told Xinhua, adding "they feel happy, and this in turn shows the positive relationship of China and Ethiopia."