Exciting times for travellers, as Ethiopian Airlines extends operation to Singapore
In a bid to deepen its operations in Asia Pacific, one of Africa’s most profitable airlines, Ethiopian airlines, has sealed a partnership deal with Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines. Based on the agreement, the airline will commence its operation to Singapore in June, with latest airplane fitted with state-of-the art facilities.
Speaking at a roadshow held recently at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, in collaboration with the Changi Airport and Singapore Tourism Board, the General Manager, Ethiopian Airlines (Lagos), Solomon Begashaw, informed that the partnership with Singapore Airlines, a Star Alliance member, would afford Ethiopian Airlines the platform to access all other destinations in Asia and South West Pacific, using the Changi Airport.
On the other hand, the new agreement would afford Singapore Airlines to access all 53 destinations of Ethiopian Airlines, even as it plans to reinstate five weekly direct flights to Singapore from its base in Addis Ababa. The airline will also be operating direct flight to Singapore from its entire base in Nigeria.
“We have a business plan and a vision, which is called vision 2025; to be one of the leading airlines in the world. On the roadmap of this vision, we have a lot of platforms and one of them is to expand our networks to reach Africa and the world as much as possible. So by 2025, we will be 188 destinations,” he said.
Asked why the airline discontinued its operation on the route, he explained, “We stopped flying to Singapore before because the product we are offering before wasn’t the right product the Singapore market deserves; we were not operating with the right equipment. Now, everything is right and we are using the right aircraft, which is the B777. So we have the right resource and we have the right equipment.”
Operations to Singapore will involve five weekly flights from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to its hub in Addis Ababa. This will greatly contribute to the strengthening of trade, investment, and tourism ties between a booming Africa and a highly developed, innovative, and business-friendly Singapore.
Meanwhile, the airline is working in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board and the country’s Embassy in Nigeria to ease usual challenges being faced by travelers in getting visa to Singapore.
“Of course, visa is a requirement for every country and one of the concerns we will be having is visa issue. But we will be partnering with the Singapore Tourism Board and also with the Singapore Embassy to see how we can go around it so that more people can visit Singapore. This is an attraction not only for Ethiopian Airlines, but for Singapore as well because Nigerians will be flying to Singapore for tourism,” Begashaw said.
“I don’t think people coming to Singapore face any challenges; moving around in Singapore is very easy. You can move around in public transport or in your own vehicle; people are friendly. I have not heard of a lot of people having obstacles, challenges once you are in Singapore. I don’t foresee Nigerians having problem while in Singapore for business or holiday,” Area Director, Middle East and Africa International Group Singapore Tourism Board, Mohamed Firhan Abdul Salam said.
According to Manager Passenger Development and Air Hub Development, Changi Airport Group, Neo Wei Shan, the airport, which is the 6th largest in the world, had an annual traffic of 5.7 million passengers in 2016.
“The Changi airport with 3 terminals seamlessly connected to ensure seamless movement of passengers; it is connected to 124 airlines’ schedule, with a link to 292 cities and connected to 81 countries,” she said.