- Chidozie Uzoezie
Ethiopian to Make Bangkok Hub For Southeast Asia
Ethiopian Airlines is pushing Bangkok as a new hub to link with the Southeast Asia region, with plans to operate connecting flights to Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia over the next 15 months.
Meaza Taye, regional manager for Thailand and Southeast Asia, said the airline would operate a connecting Bangkok-Hanoi flight from November. It also plans to add connecting routes through Bangkok to Singapore and Jakarta by March next year. Currently, the airline operates seven flights a week between Addis Ababa and Bangkok, with three connecting flights per week to Kuala Lumpur and four a week to Manila. "We are pushing Thailand as a new hub into Southeast Asia. Bangkok will play this role," she said. The main passenger targets in Southeast Asia are people working for construction and mining companies in Ethiopia, while tourists, particularly free independent travellers, are an emerging market.
Among African airlines operating in Southeast Asia, which also include Kenya Airways, South African Airways and EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines has 35-40 per cent of the market. Average load factor on the Bangkok-Addis Ababa route is 75-80%. Taye said the Boeing 767s flying Ethiopian Airlines' Southeast Asia routes would be replaced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners.