Tuesday, April 30, 2013

► ZAMBIA: Ethiopian Airlines turned off further expansion into Zambia over poor loads on Ndola flights.

EthiopianEthiopian Airlines (ET) says very poor loads on its Addis Ababa – Ndola – Lubumbashi (DRC) – Addis Ababa flights launched back in late March are a cause for concern for the airline, with the Ethiopian carrier now hesitant to further expand into Zambia.

Speaking to Zambian paper, The Post, recently, Ethiopian Airlines Sales and service director for East and Southern Africa, Ahadu Simachew, said the airline was not eager to expand further into Zambia given the bad response on its Ndola flights where it currently goes head to head with Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SA).
"We have no intentions of introducing flights to any place in Zambia like Livingstone. As it is we are worried of the number of people we are uplifting from Ndola. What we are uplifting from Ndola is not encouraging. It is not much. At the moment, Ndola fights are not working well but if the passenger flow increases, then we might consider on increasing flight days to Ndola," said Simachew.
Ethiopian's inaugural Ndola flight
Ethiopian's inaugural Ndola flight (mwebantu)
Ethiopian's choice of Ndola flights is unique in that SAA, Kenya Airways and even Emirates (EK) have all been vying for rights to serve the Zambian resort town of Livingstone where the XXth United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly is to be co-hosted by both Livingstone and its Zimbabwean counterpart, Victoria Falls, from 24 to 30 August.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian's senior vice-president for Global Sales, Esayas Woldmariam Hailu, says plans to further develop Lusaka into a regional hub along the lines of its ASKY Airlines (KP) operation based out of Lomé, Togo, are still ongoing:
"Zambia for us is a very good country. Lusaka is a good hub, in fact Ethiopia and Zambia are now discussing on how to build a strong Southern African hub in Lusaka. This discussion is at a high level and the top leadership of Zambia and Ethiopia are discussing. If everything goes on well and succeeds, we are going to do like we did in Lome, Togo with an airline called Asky. This is the big plan we have," said Hailu.
Mr Hailu's comments come after Zambian Communications, Transport, Works and Supply Minister, Christopher Yaluma, recently said that his Government had had several meetings with "a number of airlines and other stakeholders" interested in the re-establishment of the Zambian national airline but, however, made no mention of any tie-up with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) as allured to by Ethiopian's CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, who in December last year, said he hoped to have the airline in the skies by late 2013.