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MANILA, Philippines — Africa’s largest airline targets to fly daily between Manila and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by July next year, depending on the delivery of new aircraft.
After the launch of its maiden Manila-Addis Ababa flight on Thursday night, July 9, Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters: “Daily frequency between the Philippines and Ethiopia, I would say, will be in about a year. It would depend on the phasing of the delivery of fleet.”
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates 3 flights a week between Manila and Addis Ababa.
This serves as a transit point for passengers from other African countries and the Middle East, being the sole carrier that operates direct flights between the two countries.
“Manila will be our strategic point of access to the Southeast Asian neighboring countries by availing excellent connectivity options. Our flights to Manila will also help strengthen trade and investment ties between Africa and Asia,” GebreMariam said in his speech.
The Philippines and Ethiopia entered into an air services agreement in October last year, which allows 7 flights per week between Manila and Ethiopia, and unlimited flights between Ethiopia and other airports in the Philippines except the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The air services deal with the Philippines was initiated by Ethiopian Airlines, which wants to expand in Asia.
Fleet to double by 2025
To strengthen its presence in Asia, Ethiopian Airline’s GebreMariam told reporters that it wants to place orders for Boeing 777-X, Airbus 350-1000 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
This is part of the airline’s plans to almost double its fleet to 150 by 2025, its chief executive said.
According to GebreMariam, the state-owned airline is in discussions with plane manufacturer Airbus for the delivery of 14 A350-900 from 2016 to 2017.
“We have 76 aircraft operating, 47 in order. We are evaluating the Boeing 777-X, Airbus A350-1000 and Bombardier Q400,” the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said. “The target is to reach 150 fleet by 2025.”
Codeshare with PAL
After signing the air service deal between the Philippines and Ethiopia last October, flag carrier Philippine Airlines Incorporated expressed its intention to sign a codeshare agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to explore the market for the African country.
Asked if Ethiopian Airlines is open to it, GebreMariam replied: “Of course. Codesharing with PAL will allow us access more routes and streamline the processes in flying between the countries.”
Ethiopian Airlines said it sees its 2025 target of $10 billion annual revenues to lie north, alongside a rapid expansion of its routes.
At present, Ethiopian Airlines has flights to Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo in the East Asian and Southeast Asian regions. — Rappler.com