TANZANIA (eTN) – Shortly after the Routes Africa forum in Seychelles, Ethiopian Airlines will launch twice-weekly flights to connect eleven African cities to Toronto in Canada through its hub of Addis Ababa.
The Routes Africa 2012 forum is expected to attract aviation and airline professionals from Africa and other parts of the world to meet in the mid-Indian Ocean island of Seychelles to discuss air transport development in Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines, one among the leading air carriers in Africa, has its senior executives participating in the Routes Africa forum. Reports from Addis Ababa said the airline will launch two flights a week to connect African cities with Toronto in Canada from July 16 of this year.
Key African cities to be connected are Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Doula, Harare, Johannesburg, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lusaka, Nairobi, Victoria in Seychelles, and Addis Ababa itself. Flights to Toronto will be the only regular non-stop to Africa.
Ethiopian will be deploying the brand new and ultra-modern B777-200LR aircraft, which offers 287 economy class seats and 34 seats in the luxurious Cloud Nine Business class.
The airline will begin with 2 flights a week, because of bilateral restrictions, but expects to immediately increase the number of flights as soon as it obtains permission, said Tewolde Gebre Mariam, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Now, Ethiopian is committed to start services to the exciting market of Toronto twice a week, introducing a new route between Africa and Canada,” Mr. Tewolde said.
The airline has long envisioned connecting Toronto with Addis Ababa and to the rest of the world, according to Tewolde. By adding Toronto to the growing list of destinations, Ethiopian services will reinforce the relationship between Ethiopia and Canada, while enhancing trade and investment, he noted.
Toronto will be the 67th international destination for Ethiopian and second in that part of the world. Travelers from places such as Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Montreal, and San Francisco will have convenient connections through Toronto via Air Canada, Ethiopia’s partner.
“It has been our vision to connect Toronto with our hub of Addis, and to the rest of the world,” Tewolde added.
Ethiopian Airlines is expected to be among key airlines to send its participants to the Routes Africa 2012 forum to discuss and share experience on challenges facing airline and air transport in Africa.
Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Mr. Alain St.Ange has welcomed participants to the Routes Africa 2012 forum to meet in the mid-Indian Ocean island to discuss issues affecting air transport and solutions that would bring the African continent on the best roadmap in aviation industry.
Networking among African tourism ministers attending Routes Africa 2012 and sideline meetings between the ministers and airlines, and airport authorities, will be a golden opportunity for all. The Seychelles Africa Routes meeting will provide an important opportunity for governments, tourism, and airline industry professionals.
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa will also heading for Seychelles to be part of Routes Africa 2012. This will bring a new dimension to the airline and aviation meeting as they remain focused on the development of airlines.
The support for Routes Africa 2012 has been welcomed by Minister Alain St.Ange and by Mr. Gerard Brown from the Routes organization.
By Apolinari Tairo, eTN Tanzania