Ethiopian Airlines Will Not Suspend Flights to Coronavirus Hit China: CEO

By Staff Reporter

ETH-chinaMarch 6, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian Airlines again announced that it will not suspend flights to coronavirus hit cities of China despite growing concerns and criticism.  

Chief Executive of Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Tewolde Gebremariam told BBC Amharic service that it is impossible to prevent or control the spread of the virus by suspending direct flights to the cities of China.

“It is unfair to discriminate China due to the spreading virus,” Tewolde said, adding that the Airlines has reported a 20 percent revenue reduction due to the disease.

Amidst rising criticism and despite the fact that nearly major world airlines have suspended flights to mainland China, Ethiopian Airlines has, so far, continued flying to the virus stricken cities of China from Addis Ababa.

In Africa, cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and Nigeria. Several African airlines including Egypt Air, Kenyan Airways and Air Rwanda have canceled scheduled flights to China except for Ethiopian Airlines.

Almost all African governments reportedly put in place strict screening against the virus at points of entry, especially at airports.

According to Tewelde, over 70 percent of world airliners are flying China. Some airlines, however, terminated flights to Asian giants mainly due to the usual Chinese New Year down season coupled with fear over the new coronavirus.

WHO declared coronavirus as a global public health emergency concern but did not recommend restriction of flights and travels. “It has provided us with safety and testing guidelines that we are practicing in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and Ethiopian Public Health Institute, he said.

“It is unethical and immoral to cut flights to China due to the disease and suspending flights to China is not an option, Tewolde added.

Tewolde said the Ethiopian is working with all relevant Chinese and Ethiopian authorities to prevent its passengers and flight crew from coronavirus infections in full compliance with International Airlines Transport Authority (IATA), WHO, African Union Center Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

According to Tewolde, China is one of the most important destinations for Ethiopian Airlines. “With support and cooperation with the government of China, the Ethiopian Airlines serve the Chinese people will cautiously continue even in this difficult time, he added.

The International Air Transport Authority (IATA) recently disclosed that African Airliners have lost more than $400 million in revenue since the outbreak of virus

Ethiopia reported no cases of coronavirus even though the number of people who contracted the virus hits over 98,000 and over 3000 people died due to the virus worldwide.

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