Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s leading and fastest-growing airline, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first flight to China, marking an important milestone in the airline’s history. On February 21, 1973, Ethiopian Airlines carried out its inaugural flight to Shanghai, and later shifted its flights to Beijing on November 7, 1973. Since then, the airline has been connecting China with the whole of Africa, becoming the first African carrier to fly to China.
Today, China is one of the largest markets for Ethiopian Airlines, with passenger services to four destinations, including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hong Kong. To commemorate its 50 years of service to China, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said, “The beginning of flights to China 50 years ago heralded an important milestone in the history of the airline. Ethiopian was among the first to serve China and has ever since been providing reliable services to the country.”
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines continued to offer uninterrupted service to destinations in China. While the frequency of passenger flights was restricted during the pandemic, the airline has been increasing the frequency of its flights to Chinese cities, and ultimately plans to return to pre-pandemic levels with daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, as well as 10 and four weekly flights to Guangzhou and Chengdu, respectively.
In addition to its passenger flights, Ethiopian Airlines operates 31 cargo flights per week to nine destinations in China, including three new additions. The airline has been serving daily cargo flights to Guangzhou and Hong Kong, four weekly flights to Shanghai, and three each to Zhengzhou and Wuhan, along with two to Changsha. Recently, Ethiopian Airlines added three more freighter destinations to China, including two weekly flights each to Xiamen and Shenzhen, and one to Chengdu. With a combined 66 weekly flights to 10 destinations in China, Ethiopian Airlines is proud to serve as a bridge connecting China with African nations.