Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is stretching its wings, to be precise the wings of one of their new B787 Dreamliners, to Japan come April this year. A statement seen from the airline confirms that preparations for the launch of flights between Addis Ababa and Tokyo Narita, via Hong Kong, are complete. The airline will initially serve the route three times a week and establish the first direct flight link between Japan and Africa, and flights will be codeshared with Star Alliance partner All Nippon Airways.
“It is obvious that these guys not just see opportunities but take them. Being the first on the route will give them pole position in uplifting traffic from Japan not just to Addis but into their entire African network. And as you never fail to point out, that network is the widest any airline has. Star Alliance must be proud of such a star pupil among their ranks. For us in Kenya, it is again coming late on that lucrative market. We are behind ET across India and Asia, and I wonder what went wrong with us here. Our airline posts massive losses, and ET expands and grows and makes profits? And then your slap this morning about failed corporate communication strategies but true enough, we have lost massive ground over the past year or so,” commented a regular source on how Kenyan aviators feel when they read such success stories.
“Ethiopian is the one to watch,” wrote another source when tossing ideas around earlier today after also reading that ET was to launch flights to Goma/Eastern Congo via Entebbe.
In a related development, Ethiopian has also confirmed that they have agreed on an expanded codeshare agreement with Star Alliance partner Air India, which will benefit both airlines with added destinations in India and across Africa.
Star Alliance counts three members in Africa – Ethiopian, Egypt Air, and South African – which in terms of fleet and passengers carried, constitute the three largest airlines. Skyteam comes in at a distant second, with Kenya Airways being the only alliance member in Africa, while OneWorld has not a single member on the African continent, though is active with flights to Africa by such members as Qatar Airways and to a much lesser extent British Airways.