Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province and is the 7th largest city in China.
A statement issued by Mrs Hanna Atnafu, Manager Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines said Chengdu was the country’s western centre of logistics, commerce, science and technology, as well as a hub of transportation, manufacturing and communication.
It said Chengdu was also a major hub for Air China, Ethiopian Airlines’ Star Alliance partner.
The statement said with the new flight, passengers from Ethiopian vast and growing network in Africa would be able to quickly connect to dozens of cities in China partnership with Air China including Shenzhen, Kunming, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Wuhan, Changsha, and Urumqi.
Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, said: “We are glad to launch services to Chengdu, our fifth gateway to The Republic of China. Since our first flight 43 years ago, China has been a key market and it is now the largest per country market in our system.”
He said using the geocentric location advantage of their hub in Addis Ababa; the company was connecting China, the world’s second largest economy and Africa’s biggest trade and investment partner, with 52 cities in the continent of Africa.
The Group CEO said with the addition of Chengdu: “We shall offer the best and fastest connectivity options with a total of 34 weekly flights to China, operated with the latest and most comfortable B787 and B777 aircraft.”
“Our Chinese customers will also enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian vast intra African network and farther to São Paulo in Brazil,” he added.
Ethiopian is investing to make Addis Ababa, a Chinese friendly hub airport for the continent.
He said the Airline now had Mandarin translators and signage available at the airport transit area and in the Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge.
Chinese New Year is also marked every year at Addis Abba Airport.
Ethiopian was the first African carrier and the fourth in the world to fly to China back in 1973.
In addition to the three weekly flights to Chengdu to be launched in June, Ethiopian currently operates daily nonstop flights to Beijing, 10 weekly nonstop to Guangzhou, and six weekly nonstop to Hong Kong.