Ethiopian Airlines, the national flag carrier of Ethiopia, is celebrating its 50th year of connecting China with Africa.
The airline made its first flight to China through Shanghai on February 21, 1973, becoming the first African carrier to fly to China. Ethiopian Airlines has been connecting the Asian country with Africa for half a century now, and the airline’s milestone is regarded as an important moment in Africa-China relations.
H.E. Ambassador Tefera Derbew, jointly hosted by the Ethiopian and the FDRE Embassy in the People’s Republic of China, conveyed a congratulatory message underscoring the crucial role played by the Ethiopian in bringing people together, connecting investment and tourism, and even engaging in life-saving operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similar messages have also been conveyed by Mr. Zhou Ping, Deputy Director General of the Department of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Ambassador Martin Mpana, Dean of the African Diplomatic Missions to the People’s Republic of China, and Mrs. Zhao Ying, Vice General Manager of Beijing Capital International Airport.
H.E. Mr. Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive, thanked all for their presence and the warm hospitality accorded. Tasew hailed the milestone as an important moment in Africa-China relations and said that the beginning of flights to China 50 years ago heralded an important milestone in the history of the airline. Ethiopian Airlines was among the first to serve China and has ever since been providing reliable services to the country.
“The beginning of flights to China 50 years ago heralded an important milestone in the history of the airline. Ethiopian (Airlines) was among the first to serve China and has ever since been providing reliable services to the country,” the statement quoted Tasew as saying. “As China is one of the key destinations in Asia, we will maintain our commitment to serving the country, thereby providing access for the Chinese people to the big African market,” he said.
Although the frequency of Ethiopian Airlines’ passenger flights was restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline has been offering uninterrupted service to destinations in China. Ultimately, the airline said that the flights would get back to the pre-COVID-19 levels soon, with daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, as well as 10 and four weekly flights to Guangzhou and Chengdu, respectively. When the services are fully restored, the Ethiopian flag carrier will operate a total of 35 weekly passenger flights to China. In addition to its passenger flights, the airline is also operating 31 cargo flights per week to nine destinations in China.