The Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would commence flights to Chengdu, China, as of June 3, 2017.
A thrice a week flight of Ethiopian is to connect passengers from its vast and growing network in Africa to dozens of cities in China in partnership with Air China.
In a press release, the national carrier said Shenzhen, Kunming, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Wuhan, Changsha, and Urumqi are the cities to be connected.
The release quoted Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam as saying: "We are glad to launch services to Chengdu, our fifth gateway to the Republic of China."
He added: "Since our first flight 43 years ago, China has been a key market and it is now the largest per country market in our system."
Using the geocentric location advantage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian is connecting China, the world's second largest economy and Africa's biggest trade and investment partner, with 52 cities in the continent of Africa, the CEO said.
"With the addition of Chengdu, we shall offer the best and fastest connectivity options with 34 weekly flights to China, operated with the latest and most comfortable B787 and B777 aircraft. Our Chinese customers will also enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian vast intra-African network and farther to São Paulo in Brazil," according to the release.
Ethiopian is investing to make Addis Ababa a Chinese friendly hub airport for the continent, he said, adding the airline has Mandarin translators and made available signage at the airport transit area as well as Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge.
Meanwhile, the construction of the new Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Terminal is 82 per cent complete and would go operational in April this year.
The terminal with an annual storage of 1.2 million tons for both dry and perishable goods would have a capacity to accommodate eight B747-800 freighters at a time, said Ethiopian in a separate press release.
The facility would have uplifting capability equivalent to cargo terminals at Amsterdam Schiphol, Singapore Changi or Hong Kong, the release added.