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Ethiopian Airlines eyes business tie-ups with IndiGo and SpiceJet

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Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has already entered into a codeshare deal with Tata Group-owned Air India, is seeking “commercial” ties with budget national carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet, a senior official has said. of the society.

The airline also said it is also assessing the prospects of setting up an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility in India.

It currently operates its non-stop flight services to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The airline also offers cargo services to Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Notably, the airline recently completed 50 years of its operations in Mumbai.

“India is one of our strategic markets in Asia and we have been providing essential air connectivity between India and Africa for decades. It is one of the essential destinations for passenger and cargo services of Ethiopian Airlines,” said the Ethiopian Airlines Regional Manager for India. The Tigist Eshetu subcontinent told PTI during an interaction.

Ethiopian Airlines started flying to Delhi from the capital Addis Ababa from 1966 and later launched services to Mumbai also from December 1971. It added Bengaluru to its network from late 2019.

Ethiopian Airlines has constantly expanded its operations in India with additional frequency, new cities and aircraft upgrades. This trend will also continue in the years to come, she said.

Stating that the airline is expected to start its services from Chennai from July 2 with three weekly flights, which will be served by either a Boeing 737 Max or a Boeing 787 Dreamliner depending on market demand, Eshetu said that other destinations such as Ahmedabad and Hyderabad are also on the radar in the future.

Additionally, we have a codeshare agreement with Air India and SPA (Special Prorate Agreement) with Vistara. We are evaluating and are in communication with Spicejet and IndiGo for commercial tie-ups, she said, without disclosing details.

The SPA is a pact between two or more airlines on the distribution of direct fares on two- or multi-leg journeys operated by different airlines.

Emphasizing that India has always been its strategic market since 1966, she said, “We wish to continue to serve India with enhanced capabilities.”

However, COVID-induced restrictions have hampered the moderate amount of frequency the airline used to operate, she said, adding: “We are now operating much lower, but we are optimistic that the services will return to pre-COVID levels (soon).”







Global air traffic is recovering and the improvement is expected to accelerate in 2022-23. Ethiopian Airlines has a recovery rate of about 70% from pre-COVID levels, and it expects that to improve over the coming year, Eshetu said.

“India is one of the key markets where we expect a high recovery rate now that we have restored our passenger capacity,” she added.

A large portion (39%) of the passenger traffic on the Mumbai route of the airlines comes from labor travel, followed by business and corporate travel which accounts for 30%. Up to 55% of passenger traffic on the Delhi route comes from the business, leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) segment.

In addition, up to 90% of passengers from India are transit passengers traveling further afield to African airline online points, mainly to Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana, among others, she mentioned.

“We weathered the turmoil of COVID-19 by capitalizing on our agility and diverse business model. Our cargo business was instrumental in generating a revenue stream when passenger numbers declined as a result of the COVID outbreak,” she said.

She said the airline has the agility to reconfigure a number of its passenger planes for cargo service thanks to its O capability.

“An assessment is currently underway at our head office for a possible set-up/reconciliation with the Indian authorities, she said.

Noting that Ethiopian Airlines is on a massive expansion plan, despite the impact of the pandemic, she said, “there is interest from the Ethiopian side in improving frequency and points of departure. We think the Indian side will also be on the same page as the increase in demand comes from both sides.

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