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  • Writer's pictureChukwuebuka Ilozumba

TFE 1 – Ethiopia through Ethiopian Airlines

The strong Ethiopian aura is one that has been well spread across the continent by the sights of its national carrier; ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES (ETA). So strong is its’ network that it has direct flights from all sub-Saharan countries of the continent to its Addis Ababa hub, every other day. How else does one describe Pan-African? It is warming to note that before you see Ethiopia, you would probably first see its airline.

Boarding Ethiopian Airlines in Lusaka
Ethiopian Airline Carrier at Lusaka Airport

To avoid long visa-on-arrival queues at the airport, I sought to apply for my visa online and my enquiries through the airline’s official Twitter page were promptly responded to. The significance of this was not lost on me. Here is an airline that was integral in the economy and image of the country.

A spillover act or what I choose to call persuasive tourism on the part of the airline is its compulsory stop(sleep)over schedule if you would be transiting through its hub to an onward destination. In my case, I was headed to Zambia and we had to spend a night in Addis Ababa (you have no access to your checked-in luggage on such itinerary). The associated logistics are all pre-arranged by the airline in conjunction with the partner hotels, with the passenger informed ahead of boarding at their first point of departure. On arrival in Addis Ababa, one goes through the provided points and is received by the shuttle bus of the assigned hotel. Dinner and breakfast at the hotel are included in this package (paid flight ticket).

Apron View of the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Apron View - Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

The ripple effect of this is astounding. From a business point of view and knowing that ETA operates flights from various international locations beyond Africa, this persuasive tourism is responsible for the real estate boost seen in Addis Ababa. Hotels are required to cater daily for these humongous numbers of passengers. The hotels have to provide food and staff to cater for these passengers. This means more uptake of farmers’ produce and more employment. The shuttle buses have to be procured, maintained and fuelled. The passengers would also chip in their money to procure items they desire. In some cases, some just want a particular hotel which they have to pay for out of pocket.

By the time I turned up the next day at the airport, I already breathed in the country and had an awakened curiosity and longing to see what lies outside my airport-hotel path. Right there at the airport, business was buzzing. ETA was bringing in the consumers and the vendors really did have a lot to sell to airport users. Every basic item and service a traveller needed could be found right there in the airport.

Departure View of the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Departure View - Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

So, it did happen that without having an Ethiopia Immigrations stamp on my passport, I had already seen the Ethiopian culture, city, people and tasted its food just by being a customer of ETA. In effect, I saw Ethiopia through the borrowed lenses of Ethiopian Airlines. I looked forward to my return and actual visit.

Sky View from an Ethiopian Airline airplane
Ethiopian Airline Sky View



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