A Bridge Building Role For Ethiopian Airlines USA

By Ajong Mbapndah L

We are continually engaging with African and US Officials to review opportunities where it makes business sense, says Samson Arega

With circa three hundred thousand people ferried to and from Africa within the year, the Ethiopian Airlines USA Office has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. A sign of its growth and progress is seen in the recent opening of Atlanta, Georgia as its newest gateway to the USA. When added to Washington DC – Dulles, and Chicago O’Hare, Newark Airport, JFK Airports, it is easy to understand the bridge building role that Ethiopian Airlines plays in USA-African ties .

“We are continually engaging with African and US Officials to review opportunities where it makes business sense to increment our offerings between the US and the African Continent,” says Samson Arega Regional Director Sales, Marketing $ Svcs, Ethiopian Airlines USA Office.

In a Q & A with PAV, Samson Arega sheds light and offers insights into the workings of Ethiopian Lines whose fleet and services make it the best in Africa and amongst the best in the world.

May we get insights into the scope and depth of Ethiopian Airlines operations in the USA?

Samson Arega: Currently we have (4) US Gateways to Africa. Washington DC – Dulles Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport service our East Africa HUB and connections in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Newark Airport, JFK Airport and Washington DC – Dulles Airport service our West Africa HUB in Lomé, Togo.

We recently announced our newest US Gateway for May 2023, Atlanta, Georgia. We are truly delighted to open our sixth gateway in North America with the new flight to Atlanta. We have been connecting the U.S. and Africa for 25 years now and the new service will help boost the investment, tourism, diplomatic and socioeconomic bonds between the two regions. As a pan-African carrier, we are committed to further expand our global network and connect Africa with the rest of the word. We are also keen to better serve the U.S. by increasing our destinations and flight frequencies. Ethiopian Airlines is also a member of Star Alliance, the first global aviation alliance ever existed and with that our Connecting Partners and Intermodal Partners extend our network beyond the 1,200 airports currently served by the 26 Alliance’s member airlines worldwide. And through this and other commercial partnership, we are serving the whole US market, connecting our esteemed passengers from various cities and airports in the US at our online US gateways and connect them into our vast network that we command from our East and West African hubs.

In a year approximately how many passengers use Ethiopian Airlines services to Africa from the USA?

Samson Arega: More than 300,000 passengers were transported from/to US to/from our Africa.

In the face of the growing African diaspora in the USA, what criteria is used in getting states or airports you service and any plans for more in the near future?

Samson Arega : We are continually engaging with African and US Officials to review opportunities where it makes business sense to increment our offerings between the US and the African Continent. With these opportunities, we are also aware that the growing African diaspora in the US will benefit with more options for travel to their homeland.

Our most recent expansion announced for MAY 2023, is the city of Atlanta, which will now connect customers to our vast network in Africa.

At the Corporate level, how has the leadership of CEOMesfin Tasew fared since it took office about a year ago?

Samson Arega: Mr Mesfin has an extensive experience in the industry which spans almost 4 decades and him along with his leadership team are committed and determined more than ever to take the Airline to the next level.

Despite the stiff competition, Ethiopian Airlines remains the largest Airlines company in Africa, says Samson Arega

What are some of the incentives that Ethiopian Airlines uses to facilitate travel and make the experience more aggregable for its clients?

Samson Arega : Continuous promotions, discounts at time of ticketing, are provided year-round thru our website, mobile app and partnered travel agencies. Special baggage allotment is also rewarded when using our mobile app and or website for check-in prior to travel.

Also, we have preferred rates from our Offline US cities with multiple US airline partners. This allows us to provide ease of connectivity thru any of our US HUBs from any city in the Continental US.

As a brand, what makes Ethiopian Airlines stand out, what are some of the core principles that guide its services?

Samson Arega: As an airline, safety is our first priority, Ethiopian is a high performance and learning organization with continuous improvements, innovation and knowledge-sharing. We accept change for the growth opportunity it brings and always seek for and apply the best ideas regardless of their source, We recognize and reward employees for their performance and demonstrate integrity, respect to others, candor and team work, Act in an open fashion and be result-oriented, creative and innovative, Adopt Zero tolerance to indifference, inefficiency and bureaucracy, Encourage 360° free flow and sharing of information, Treat our customers the same way we would like to be treated and always look for ways to make it easier for customers to do business with us.

There has been a growing number of airlines serving the African market from the USA, how prepared is Ethiopian Airlines for the competition?

Samson Arega : We welcome competition as this provides the customer with options for travel. Still, we are the biggest airline in the African Continent and believe that by listening to our customers, providing better connectivity through a seamless & hassle-free travel experience, we also can expand and grow our network by adding more frequencies or venturing in new destinations across the globe.

Any projections or big plans in view for 2023 and any special message to old and prospective customers of Ethiopian Airlines?

Samson Arega:We are now able to look into the airlines network expansion, post-COVID, and a testament to that is our recent announcement to/from Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

To all our old and new customers, we thank them for their continued support and welcome them on board when they plan their next trip to Africa. Always recommend for them to download our mobile app or visit our website so they may be well informed about new flights, promotions and/or discounts available to them thru our airline.

*Culled from February Issue Of PAV Magazine

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