Ethiopian Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance grouping, currently flies from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to four cities in China, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
China has a strong presence in many African countries, particularly in major construction projects, including the first modern tramway in Africa, built in Addis Ababa and largely funded by China’s Exim bank. Africa also provides a good source of many of the raw materials and natural resources needed by China for their own development. As a result of these business links, not only has the Chinese community in Ethiopia and other African countries, so too has the need for flights between Africa and Asia.
In view of this, and the fact that many of the Chinese passengers don’t speak English and thus don’t understand the safety instructions, the airline has 30 Chinese crew members currently in training at the Ethiopian Airlines aviation academy in Addis Ababa who will be part of the crew on all China-bound flights by November 2015.
The training centre is the only airline training centre in Africa with a Boeing 787 simulator and Ethiopian boasts pilots, technicians and flight crew of 49 nationalities. With seventy-seven aircraft, thirty-two of which have been acquired since 2010, the airline is working hard to position itself as the primary carrier between Africa and Asia.
The airline currently flies to over ninety international destinations. In Asia, apart from the four cities in China, their largest Asian market, Ethiopian Airlines flies to Bangkok direct, Kuala Lumpur and Manila (via Bangkok), Mumbai and Delhi (both direct), as well as Tokyo Narita and Seoul (via Hong Kong). From Addis Ababa you can also connect to their network covering the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America,