The Australian pilot sitting next to us was as excited as we were when ushered to the left entering the Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner. Although usually in the right hand cockpit seat, he was a passenger from Hong Kong and was ferrying from Bangkok to Addis Ababa.
“Thank goodness I have a flat-bed. I am exhausted,” he said as he settled down in Business class 4C for the nine hour trip BKK to ADD.
Ethiopian Airlines is a secret waiting to unfold. It all started with a military DC-47 from Addis Ababa to Cairo in 1946 and eventually led to a series of firsts for the continent: providing the first jet service in the early 60’s, flying the first B-767 in the early 80’s and then taking delivery of the first B-787 Dreamliner in 2012 and the first Airbus A-350 in 2016. Throughout those challenging 70 years Ethiopian Airlines was able to transform itself into the biggest airline in Africa boasting the largest aviation academy training pilots and cabin crew, a state of the art maintenance facility servicing ET and other airlines, plus a new catering facility that can produce 30,000 meals per day.
The airline has 85 aircraft including seven B-787 Dreamliners and 11 Airbus A-350’s with an average age of five years and 50 more aircraft are on order. ET flies to 90 international ports and 19 domestically. Management is in negotiation to fly to Australia but no date has been set. The airline has a target to plant one indigenous tree for every passenger, a mammoth goal of 7.6 million trees.
For Australians travelling to Ethiopia there are a number of cities available to join ET but the most convenient is through Bangkok. Our group of travel wholesalers and media had a two night stopover to break the journey. The Rembrandt hotel is convenient and at competitive prices. www.rembrandtbkk.com
ET is a very sophisticated airline. We flew one way business class (Cloud Nine) and returned in economy. Meals, drinks and service were excellent in both cabins and the food included the Ethiopian staple diet of Injera plus western style chicken and beef. Sheba Miles is the Frequent Flyer Club and the airline is a Star Alliance member. http://www.ethiopianairlines.com
Like the airline, Ethiopia is a destination yet to be discovered by the world’s tourists. It is a sovereign state known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia located in the Horn of Africa sharing borders with Eritrea in the north, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south and Sudan to the west. The most populated landlocked country in the world; it boasts nearly 100 million people occupying 1,100,000 square kilometres.
A varied selection of exciting destinations awaits tourists to Ethiopia. National parks include the scenic Simien and Bale Mountains with their wealth of endemic wildlife, while historical sites range from the atmospheric rock-hewn churches of Lalibela to the towering stelae of Aksum and castles in Gondar. Other highlights are the awe-inspiring Erta Ale Volcano, the cultural mosaic of Konso and South Omo, and bird-rich lakes strung along the Rift Valley floor.
For further information on touring Ethiopia: www.ethiopia.travel
African Wildlife Safaris – contact– Taleen Gaidzkar – firstname.lastname@example.org
Swagman Africa – contact Wayne Hamilton – email@example.com
Africa Ubuntu Safaris – contact Cuan McLaren – firstname.lastname@example.org
Peregrine / Intrepid Travel – Rowan Waters – email@example.com
For general enquiries and information – Africareps – firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by John Savage