File photo shows a Chinese chef makes dumplings during the welcoming reception organized by the Ethiopian Airlines at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Jan. 25, 2016.(Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
ADDIS ABABA, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's national air carrier, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) plans to add three more Chinese flight destinations, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.
Speaking to Xinhua, Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, said Ethiopian Airlines is waiting flight permits from Chinese authorities to fly to the Chinese destinations of Chongqing, Shenzhen and Zhengzhou.
"In addition to planning three new Chinese destinations, ET is also planning to increase its flight frequencies to the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai," said Gebremariam.
"Ethiopia's cargo and passenger flight frequencies and destinations need to increase to keep up with the fast rising ties between African countries and China," he further said.
ET currently operates daily passenger flights from Addis Ababa to Guangzhou and Beijing, and three-times-a-week passenger flights to Chengdu, as well as daily passenger and cargo flights to Hong Kong and Shanghai. ET was the first African airline to start flight services to China, back in 1973.
Gebremariam also recently said Ethiopian Airlines has started facilitating visa hub service for Chinese travelling to 35 African countries.
"Most African countries' embassies are located in Beijing, but China is a big country and some Chinese may not be able to come to Beijing to apply for visas in countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia or Nigeria," Gebremariam said.
"The visa scheme will facilitate easier air travel for Chinese experts and business people and reduces their financial cost. We believe the visa scheme will significantly boost China-Africa trade ties and we are very excited about it," he further said.
He further said the carrier has the largest air network for an African airlines in China, currently travelling to five Chinese destinations, helping Chinese and foreign nationals living in various corners of China to directly travel to Ethiopia and beyond without the need to transit through the Chinese capital city Beijing.