Chengdu Emerging to be Hub Linking Western China and Other Parts of the Globe

Authors: Go Chengdu

2016-10-16

The 22nd World Routes was held in Chengdu on September 24th - 27th, with the attendance of hundreds of airlines, airports, government agencies and global organizations from all over the world, making Chengdu the second Chinese city to host the event after Beijing.
It is widely believed that being the venue for the grand event, Chengdu has been highly recognized by the global aviation circle for its tremendous economic and social development, and its capacity in aviation transportation as the aviation hub in central and western China.
During the event, gochengdu.cn interviewed Tewolde Gebre Mariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines and Eugeniy Ilyin, Chief Commercial Officer of Saint Petersburg Pulkovo Airport. The former detailed the direct service between Chengdu and Addis Ababa to be launched next year, and the latter revealed the possibility to open the direct flight between Chengdu and Saint Petersburg.
Dialogue with Mr. Tewolde Gebre Mariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines:
gochengdu: What made Ethiopian Airlines decide to open the non-stop flight between Addis Ababa and Chengdu?
Mr. Mariam: Ethiopian Airlines opened the first flight to China in 1973. As the most profitable airlines with the biggest revenue in Africa, our company has been attaching great value to the air link beween our country and China. Being a major city in central and western China, Chengdu is developing fast in business and trade, investment and tourism. It is a new gateway for us to China.
The direct air service between Addis Ababa and Chengdu will definitely contribute a lot to the development of both cities in all aspects including the people-to-people exchange.
gochengdu: In your perspective, will the new flight help Chengdu strengthen its connection with other African countries?
Mr. Mariam: Sure. We've had 52 flight destinations in Africa, almost covering the continent. And the service between Addis Ababa and Chengdu can link Chengdu and other African countries. Specifically, it takes just 1 to 2 hours for passengers from Chengdu to other African countries through transfer in our capital, which provides a pretty convenient choice for those who go to other African countries from Chengdu. Besides, the African Union is headquartered in Addis Ababa, so we can offer more efficient and easier visa service, saving plenty of time for passengers.
gochengdu: It is said that you will offer four round-trip flights a week. Will there be too many?
Mr. Mariam: I can totally understand your concern. But I can tell you that there will not be too many. The air traffic volume of Chengdu is huge with great demands for flight and route. With the Chinese middle-class increasingly expanding, more and more of them expect to travel and invest in Africa. And over the recent years, Ethiopia's economy has been developing at a high speed as the country's middle-class is on a gradual increase, resulting in the rising number of Africans who want to travel in China. So we believe that the four weekly flights will be able to improve connectivity between China and Africa significantly. As a transfer hub, Addis Ababa can offer high-quality and convenient air service to both Chinese and African people.
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