As dozens of major airlines around the world cancel flights to China as a precaution over the outbreak of coronavirus, Ethiopian Airlines has refused to follow suit. This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus as a “global health emergency.”
For Africa’s busiest airliner with frequent flight to China that has built a growing and overwhelming influence within the continent said it is business as usual.
Instead, the airline posted a statement on its Twitter page, thanking China for its “unreserved support,” without specifying what that was.
“China is one of the strongest and one of the oldest markets for Ethiopian Airlines. We have been connecting the great Chinese nation with the entire continent of African (sic) for almost half a century and it is our growth strategic market,” the statement read. “We are operating our regular flights to all of our five gateways in China, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong with the usual supply and demand adjustment that we always make during the Chinese New Year Holidays (sic).”
A member of Star Alliance, the decision of Ethiopian seems to be contrary to other world class airlines that have halted flights to the nation, including British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, and KLM Royal Dutch Airline.
Ethiopian insists its working with authorities to protect its interests and highlighted its support to the vulnerable nation.
“We are also working together will all relevant Chinese and Ethiopian Authorities (sic) to protect our passengers and our crew from the Coronavirus disease in full compliance with IATA, WHO, CDC guidelines. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the People (sic) and the government of China for their unreserved support and would like to reassure our full commitment to stand with them at all times,” the statement concluded.
In related news, Ethiopian Airlines invited the media to view its readiness at Bole International airport to showcase its readiness to screen passengers.
Ethiopia authorities had announced the suspicion of four students who travelled from Wuhan China to Ethiopia earlier this week of contracting the deadly virus; and the fact that samples have been sent to South Africa for further testing; while the four remain in quarantine at the airport. Nevertheless, according to the State Minister of Health, Lia Tadesse (MD), the test results of the four suspected cases sent to South African has returned negative.