Ethiopian airlines: China Flights to increase and Return to Pre-Pandemic levels, Latin America sees cut in frequencies

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Ethiopian Airlines is to boost capacity on flights to China from next month but will reduce service to its Latin America destinations.

With the recent easing of travel restrictions in China related to Covid-19, Ethiopian will be preparing to boost frequencies on its Chinese destinations and return to pre-pandemic flight frequencies starting in March.

The African carrier will be one of the first international airlines to restore capacity to China since the quarantine requirements were lifted.

Before the pandemic, China was an important market for Ethiopian Airlines, serving cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. The airline has been serving these cities since November, but at a much lower frequency, according to flight schedules data by Cirium.

Starting February 6th, the airline will increase its service to Guangzhou to daily flights and by March, it will increase these frequencies to 10 flights a week.

Furthermore, the airline plans to increase flights to Beijing and Shanghai to four flights a week next month, and daily from March 1st. Additionally, it will also add an additional weekly flight to Chengdu, resulting in 28 weekly flights to China.

Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Mesfin Tasew says: “China is one of the largest markets for Ethiopian Airlines outside Africa, and the increase in flight frequencies will help revive the trade, investment, cultural and bilateral cooperation between Africa and China in the post-Covid era.”

He adds: “We are keen to further expand our service to China going forward.”

Ethiopian also operates cargo flights to Guangzhou, Changsha, Shanghai, Zhengzhou and Wuhan.

Easing of travel restrictions in China

China’s decision to abandon its zero-Covid policy has sparked a surge in flight bookings, according to the latest data from analytics house Forward Keys.

On Dec. 7, Chinese authorities announced that a negative PCR test would no longer be required for inter-provincial air travel. Domestic flight bookings immediately jumped 56 percent from the previous week and 69 percent the following week.

On December 26, China lifted all Covid-related restrictions on domestic flights and bookings skyrocketed again, hitting 50 percent of 2019 levels in the final week of the year Lunar New Year (January 7 to February 15) with the most popular destinations being Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming, Sanya, Shenzhen, Haikou, Guangzhou and Chongqing respectively.

Before the December 7 announcement, they were 91 percent behind 2019.

International carriers, particularly in Europe and North America, are largely yet to commit to restoring China capacity despite the easing in travel rules.

Schedule change to São Paulo and Buenos Aires

Meanwhile, as of January 22nd, Ethiopian Airlines will be cutting back its flight frequency from its main hub in Addis Ababa to Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

At the moment, the airline operates daily flights to these destinations using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft with 270 seats.

However, according to Cirium, the airline will operate flights to these destinations six times a week, with the schedule planned to be in place until at least March 25th, when the airline plans to return to seven weekly flights.

Ethiopian Airlines schedule to São Paulo and Buenos Aires

Flight Of Departure A Arrival
ET 506 Addis Ababa (ADD) 09:50 Saint Paul (GRU) 4:00 p.m.
ET 506 Saint Paul (GRU) five pm Buenos Aires (EZE) 7:55 p.m.


Flight Of Departure A Arrival
ET 507 Buenos Aires (EZE) 9:30 p.m. Saint Paul (GRU) 00:05 +1
ET 507 Saint Paul (GRU) 01:30 +1 Addis Ababa (ADD) 19:30 +1

Flight frequency – from January 22 to March 25

  • ET 506/507:  daily except Sunday.

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