Ethiopian Airlines is adding Bulawayo to its international destinations, a move that will help bring Zimbabwe’s second largest city right on the same league as other major international travel hubs.
The Bulawayo leg of the flights are scheduled to commence on 1 November 2022, according to OAG, a global travel data provider with headquarters in the UK.
Ethiopian Airlines will run a four times weekly Addis Ababa-Victoria Falls-Bulawayo-Addis Ababa service with its Boeing 737-800, according to OAG. The airline also serves Harare already.
The move will benefit Bulawayo travellers who were now being inconvenienced after the main international airline covering the city – South African Airways – has of late been saddled with crippling financial challenges.
The announcement comes at a perfect time as African airline traffic has returned to 66% of pre-pandemic levels. Most countries have eased travel restrictions in recent months.
Ethiopian Airlines is the best airline when it comes to north-south traffic on the African continent, while Emirates for the east-west traveller.
Ethiopian is by far Africa’s most profitable and viable airline, and is now using its strong financial muscle to take over routes being left by airlines which are now struggling post-Covid. Actually, most African airlines were running at a loss even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, which decimated the aviation industry.
Many of those saddled with debts were forced to close or declare bankruptcy, including Air Namibia and South Africa’s Comair. South African Airways, a bastion of African air travel, ceased to operate internationally.
The Ethiopian Airlines’ announcement also comes as its main rival on the continent, Emirates is making a play for Africa. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrrier plans to add to its 22 routes, secure code-sharing agreements and bring millions of Africans through its Dubai hub.
Despite most African countries launching national airlines after independence to fly their new flags around the world, the continent is today desperately lacking in flights. – HourlyHits