Africa's largest air carrier Ethiopian Airlines under its move to serve travellers planning to visit southern parts of the country has launched direct flight connectivity between Chennai and Addis Ababa. To be operated three times a week, the metro would be fourth destination for the airline to connect after New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, a top official said on Sunday. "It is the fourth destination for us and first connecting service after the pandemic.
We were able to overcome the challenges in the last three years due to COVID-19 and are now on the growth path," Ethiopian Airlines chief commercial officer Lemma Yadecha Gudeta told PTI after unveiling the service. The launch of the service coincides with the 50th anniversary of uninterrupted flight service between Mumbai and Ethiopia, he said. According to him, Ethiopian Airlines besides opening the new route to Chennai, the airline would increase to double daily and ten weekly flights to the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.
Gudeta said the company would operate Boeing 737 airline on the Chennai-Addis Ababa route and target people taking tourism for medical treatment from Africa to southern parts of the country, students and south Indians living in Africa. Asked whether the airline was planning to connect other cities with Addis Ababa apart from Chennai, he replied in the affirmative saying, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad were 'under the radar'.
Gudeta said the airliner was also planning to connect Colombo, Karachi and Dhaka on the international routes. Tamil Nadu Minister for Tourism M Mathiventhan through a video message said, "we look forward with the Ethiopian Airlines for any other future plans from Tamil Nadu and there are many people let it be students, businessmen and many patients travelling from Africa to Tamil Nadu for a cost effective treatment." "I think this flight (between Chennai-Addis Ababa) will really be helpful to all the sectors of people, not only to patients, students and exporters but also to many other tourists," he said.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said, "we have been connecting Asia and Africa for 55 years now facilitating trade between the two continents. The addition of Chennai as a fourth passenger destination in India is a testimony of our resilience and unwavering commitment to serve our customers in India." "We will continue to serve India with enhanced frequency and more destinations in the future," he said in a statement.