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E-commerce, new flights: Ethiopian Airlines increases global footprint

IFM_Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines serves the North American cities of Chicago O’Hare, Toronto Pearson, Washington Dulles, and New York

To create cross-border e-commerce services, the Ethiopian Airlines Group (ET) has teamed up with MailAmericas (MA), a private postal service and gold member of the Universal Postal Union’s consultative committee.

Through this partnership, MailAmericas will contribute its market expertise and the knowledge it has gained in the regions of Latin America and Africa, where it has networks in over 40 countries. At the same time, Ethiopian Airlines will offer air transport service for carrying goods across its extensive network.

CEO of Ethiopian Group Mesfin Tasew stated, “We are pleased to collaborate with MailAmericas in the launch of eCommerce logistics services across Africa and Latin America as the premier air cargo service provider in Africa. Together, we have provided services to more than 20 nations in Africa and Latin America thus far, and we are eager to continue extending our reach. In addition, we can better serve our clients through cooperation by utilizing MailAmericas’ knowledge, bilateral agreements, and private networks.”

According to Tomas Miguens, President of MailAmericas, “We are happy to tie up with Ethiopian Airlines Group and expand our horizon into Africa’s area. As one of the major service providers of Cross Border E-Commerce in Latin America and has served the area for over 25 years, our subsidiary Mailafrica has given us substantial expertise. It gives us great pleasure to collaborate with the top airline in Africa. Every consumer will benefit from a better shopping experience thanks to faster delivery and better package tracking. To continue our profitable engagement with Ethiopian Airlines Group, we will constantly try to expand it and create new ventures.”

Ethiopian Airlines will be given access to all bilateral agreements and private networks of MailAmericas through the cooperation, allowing it to provide consumers in Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world with competitive services.

Ethiopia is constructing a 150,000-ton-per-year e-commerce hub in Addis Ababa to expand its e-commerce logistics capabilities and service. To enable the efficient handling of goods ranging from small packages to boxes, skids, and built-up units, the e-commerce centre will also be furnished with an automatic sortation system and electronic transport vehicles (ETV) (BUPs).

The 2020–2021 fiscal year saw an annual freight uplift of around 770,000 tons for Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, a significant global cargo network operator with a sophisticated warehouse able to accommodate one million tons annually.

With 66 specific cargo destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, as well as 14 specialized freighters, it services more than 130 foreign locations. With 100% e-AWB from its primary hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services also uses the most recent technology for data, information, and market intelligence.

The airline is also planning to become a Star Alliance member, in order to compete with Gulf rivals that are strong in connecting passengers between Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

As Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian’s fleet size is expected to grow from its current count of 140 to more than 271 aircraft by 2035, operating in over 200 routes globally and carrying 65 million passengers annually.

Flights from Atlanta (ATL) to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa (ADD) are slated to begin May 16, 2023. The rotation will run four times weekly, with a fueling stop in Dublin, Ireland, on the outbound journey and flying non-stop on the return to Atlanta.

Ethiopian Airlines also serves the North American cities of Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Washington Dulles (IAD), and New York (JFK).

Service to Denmark’s capital Copenhagen from Addis Ababa will also start in May this year after a 10-year hiatus. A non-stop from Addis Ababa to Singapore will be relaunched in March, 2023 after ceasing in 2017. The carrier will also resume its pre-pandemic services to China in March, one of the few international carriers to do so since China re-opened its borders in January 2023.

Ethiopian Airlines is also eyeing to compete with Emirates and Qatar Airways, thus setting courses for rapid expansion into Africa. Qatar Airways has already invested in the new airport in Rwanda’s capital Kigali and will be aiming to have tie-ups with RwandAir.

Kenya Airways and South African Airways are also making similar moves. The two carriers, which have code-sharing and shared lounge accesses, are working towards forming a new pan-African partnership.

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