Emirates, is gearing up for the launch of its thrice-a-week service to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The Dubai-based airline, which will start operations to Addis Ababa effective 27th March, has already recruited Ethiopian nationals to manage its Passenger, Airport and Cargo operations.
Currently, the Emirates team in Addis Ababa comprise of 14 Ethiopians, which will be upped to 30 plus nationals in due course.
Preparations are also underway to have the new Emirates office functional by the start of operations on 27th March. The centrally located office at Dembel City Centre will be spread over three floors and will house the airline’s Ticketing, Sales, Reservations, Finance, and Management departments.
The plush office which is expected to herald a new dimension of customer service in Addis Ababa will feature dedicated counters for travel agents; First and Business Class passengers; and exclusive information*censored*registration counters for Gold and Silver card members of Skywards - the airline’s frequent flyer programme.
Addressing a press conference in Addis Ababa, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Africa, Nasser Bin Kherbash said: ‘Emirates is very excited to be launching services to Addis Ababa. Our teams, both here in Ethiopia and Dubai are working diligently to ensure a smooth and seamless start of our local operations.’
Mr Sudhir Sreedharan, Emirates’ Manager Ethiopia stated: ‘As one of the world’s most lauded airlines, passengers have high expectations from Emirates. With Emirates’ well-established reputation for superior customer service both in the air and on the ground, I am confident that we will meet and exceed the expectations of our valued Ethiopian customers.’
Emirates is also in the process of establishing its travel agents network. Ethiopian travellers can book Emirates award-winning service through the Emirates office or via select travel agents.
Mr Bin Kherbash added: ‘A robust non-oil trade of US$ 76.14 million in 2004 bears testimony to Dubai and Ethiopia’s strong trading links. Consumer and capital goods from the U.A.E are exported in ever-increasing quantities to Ethiopia. By providing a direct link, Emirates will fuel the trade between our two countries.’
Ethiopia’s predominantly agricultural economy can take advantage of Emirates’ 80 global destination network to boost its exports of coffee, cereal, pulses and oilseeds. Likewise, the airline’s services will also provide increased connectivity to international tourists keen to explore the East African country and its seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
To Addis Ababa, Emirates will operate its Airbus A330-200 aircraft equipped with 12, 42 and 183 seats in First, Business and Economy class, and a belly-hold cargo capacity of 17 tonnes.
Emirates currently serves East Africa with double-daily flights to Nairobi and daily flights to Entebbe and Dar-es-Salaam. With the addition of Addis Ababa, Emirates’ East Africa network will be boosted to four destinations served by 31 weekly flights.
From 1st December 2006, Emirates will step up its services to Addis Ababa to include daily flights.
Emirates flight EK 724 will depart Addis Ababa on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 19:35 hours and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 00:45 hours the following day.
Return flight EK 723 will take off from Dubai every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 08:25 hours and arrive in Addis Ababa at 11:30 hours.