ADDIS ABABA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam has hailed partnership with Chinese firms for helping the air carrier to achieve impressive growth.
Speaking to Xinhua in a recent interview, Gebremariam said Chinese firms have constructed modern airport facilities in Ethiopia as well as helped Ethiopian Airlines get a strong foothold in the Chinese aviation market.
"Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has constructed a luxury five star hotel in Addis Ababa, and China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) has constructed an expansion project at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, highlighting the strong partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and Chinese firms."
"ET is also planning to have a joint venture with AVIC to operate small Chinese built airplanes that are expected soon to operate in Ethiopian domestic flights," Gebremariam told Xinhua.
He also said Ethiopian Airlines has partnered with Chinese air carriers to give top quality services to customers in ET's Chinese flight destinations.
"Ethiopian Airlines wants to thank Shenzhen Airlines, Air China for the support they have given to ET. ET is also currently in negotiations with China Southern Airlines to develop a hub between Guangzhou and Addis Ababa."
"ET wants to add more frequencies in China and in particular is eager to receive permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to add the southern Chinese high tech hub of Shenzhen as its latest Chinese destination," Gebremariam told Xinhua.
Ethiopia's national carrier 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.
"China today is the biggest source of our aviation market. This shows how much ET is strategically aligned and integrated with China," said Gebremariam.
The ET CEO further said his airlines is planning to build on its current successful partnership with Chinese firms to make it a long term partnership.
"ET is planning to build a new airport 38 km from Addis Ababa and we intend to develop the new airport together with Chinese firms," said Gebremariam.