Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday launched its Addis-Blantyre flights in Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre.. The airline is scheduled to operate every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Speaking during the launch ,Ethiopian Airlines director, sales and services for East and Southern Africa, Ahadu Simachew, said the development is in line with Africa’s economic integration.

“We are very delighted to introduce this flight because we are going to serve Malawians better. This will help encourage trade and tourism,” said Simachew.

Speaking during the launch director of Civil Aviation Alfred Ntilatila, commended the ,airline for extending their flights to Blantyre.

“This is a milestone in aviation in Malawi because Chileka Airport almost lost its international status. For a long time we have been treating Kamuzu International Airport as the only international airport,” said Ntilatila.

He however, bemoaned the highfares in Malawi and urged airlines not to take advantage of the economics behind the setting up of fares.

Currently, Ethiopian Airlines serves over 70 international destinations.

In Africa, apart from Blantyre and Lilongwe, the airline flies to over 40 destinations including: Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa, Brazzaville, Cairo, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Harare, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa, Lagos, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Malabo, Maputo, Mekele, Mombasa, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Seychelles and Zanzibar.

In Europe and America, Ethiopian Airlines flies to Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Toronto and Washington.

In Asia the airline flies to Bahrain, Beijing, Beirut, Dubai, Delhi, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Mumbai, Muscat, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv, among others.

The airline has also code share agreements with Air China, Air India, Air Mozambique, Lufthansa, Rwanda Air, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines among others.

Earlier this year, Ethiopian Airlines was named by the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) as the preferred bidder to be the strategic partner of Air Malawi (2012) Limited based on its global experience and competitiveness.

PPPC said the viability of the restructured Air Malawi will be greatly enhanced through strategic partnership with a global player.

The negotiations between representatives of Malawi and Ethiopian Airlines were expected to conclude end March depending on the speed at which the strategic partner will roll out its services and fulfil regulatory requirements.

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