Africa’s largest carrier Ethiopian Airlines is ready to revive its codeshare agreement with the recently privatized Air India. The airline has been quite robust with its network expansion in India over the years and profits from a significant number of connecting passengers from the country.
Ethiopian Airlines is currently in talks with Air India to revive its codeshare agreement. The two airlines first signed the deal in 2011, but the agreement was suspended shortly before the pandemic due to operational difficulties. Now, with markets opening again after COVID, the African carrier feels the time is right to resume the relationship with AI.
Ethiopian is looking to revive its codeshare agreement with Air India after two years. Photo: Airbus
Ethiopian’s Chief Commercial Officer Lemma Yadecha Gudeta told The Hindu Business Line that he met Air India officials at the recently held IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha and that they were positive about continuing the agreement. He added,
“We are holding discussions with officials of Air India and reviving the agreement will not be a problem. We have been partners for so long, and it is just a matter of readjusting the technical part of the Code Share.”
Other airlines are in the running, too
Air India isn’t the only Indian carrier Ethiopian has its eyes on. The airline wants to lure as many Indian passengers as possible for flight connections from its primary hub at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD).
The carrier is looking to create commercial partnerships with Indian low-cost carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet. Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines is also assessing the prospects of setting up its aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in the country.
Ethiopian Airlines is eyeing partnerships with other major Indian carriers, too. Photo: Airbus
Around 90% of Ethiopian’s passengers traveling from India are transit passengers going further to the airlines’ African points, mainly to Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Zambia, among others. Its biggest destinations in India – Mumbai and Delhi – supply a steady flow of business and leisure passengers to the airline, and it wants to double down on that by having multiple codeshare options.
Focus on India
Ethiopian Airlines has had a long association with India. The airline recently celebrated 50 years of uninterrupted service to Mumbai, debuting its flights to the city in December 1961. Its flights to New Delhi began even before, in 1966, just 20 years after the carrier was founded.
The carrier offers passenger services to four Indian cities – Mumbai (2x daily), Delhi (10x weekly), Bengaluru (3x weekly), and Chennai (3x weekly). The service to Bengaluru was started just before the onset of the pandemic, and flights to Chennai began recently on July 2nd. In fact, Ethiopian’s Chennai flight is the first and currently only flight connecting the city directly with an African destination.
Ethiopian also operates cargo flights to India and deploys its freighter aircraft to Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. The airline is next eyeing passenger services to Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, subject to permission from India’s Civil Aviation Ministry.
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Source: The Hindu Business Line