Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will be operating flights from its base at Addis Ababa to Bangalore from 27 October 2019. The African carrier will operate the flight using a Boeing 737. In an exclusive with TadesseTilahun, Regional Director, Indian Sub-continent, who fervently believes that Ethiopian Airlines is a significant player in connecting India to Africa and beyond, Tourism India learns more about two things he is most passionate about, Ethiopia, the land of origin and its official carrier.
Why do you call Ethiopia the land of origin?
We call Ethiopian the land Origin as the country is the origin of modern human beings. We have 3.2 m years’ human fossil (Lucy) that is believed to be the first modern human being. by Anthropologists, We are also the origin of Coffee and Origin of Nile- the longest river in the world. Moreover, we have churches and monuments dating back 4th Century making Ethiopia one of the oldest Civilizations and rich history and culture.
What has been the growth rate of ET in the Indian sub-continent?
ET India has been growing in Double digits last few years, both in Cargo and Passengers. In the past few years, we have managed to double our capacity from smaller aircraft to twice daily operations from Mumbai and New Delhi. We have also managed to increase our cargo operation in India by increasing capacity in our flights at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and opened new destination Ahmedabad recently. Our Passenger and Cargo Revenue have increased by 19% and 12% compared to last year, respectively.
Which are your hubs and how big is your fleet?
Addis Ababa is our main Hub. Currently, we have seven Hubs in Africa, with our partnership with different African Airlines. These are Togo, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and few are in the pipeline. Currently, we are operating 120 fleets to 125 destinations. Our average fleet age is less than five years which is very low compared to many major airlines in the world and from the Industry standard.
How many flights are you operating from India and from which cities?
Currently, we are operating passenger flights twice daily with state of the art brand new A350 aircraft with flatbeds in Business class and WIFI services. From Delhi, we are operating twice daily with retrofitted 767 that has flatbed in Business class. Bengaluru will be the third passenger point starting on 29th October. Similarly, we are operating five weekly freighter flights from Mumbai, three flights from Delhi, two weekly flights from Chennai and Ahmedabad each and one weekly flight from Bengaluru.
What are the special sales support and collateral being extended to the travel trade to promote the flight from Bangalore?
We are working closely with travel agents and on top of very attractive discounted fares, we are offering Additional Commission to travel agents for travel out of Bengaluru. We are also working closely with Corporates to give our best services to their travel requirements.
Why did it take ET so long to initiate operations from Bangalore?
We have noticed the traffic growth from South India to Africa and were always looking to launch operations from South India, but had to wait until the required permits and approval for operations are finalized. We believe that our new flight from Bengaluru, which is the first direct flight from South India to Africa, will help to serve the growing demand from South India to Africa by giving seamless connections to our vast African network and to the Middle East, Europe, and US.
How are you collaborating with Ethiopian Tourism Board to promote tourism to Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is an exotic destination with a rich history and culture which offers a wide variety of Tourism attractions. Unfortunately, it is not well promoted in the Indian market and India knows very little about Ethiopia. To fill this gap, we are prompting Ethiopia through our holiday product “Ethiopian Holidays” which is a product of Ethiopia airlines. We are working closely with the Ethiopian Embassy and consulate office to promote Ethiopia as a tourist destination. We know that Indians love to travel and always look for new destinations and new experiences and Ethiopia is the right choice.