Ethiopia’s national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is to start flights to Jakarta, capital of Indonesia and Southeast Asia’s largest city in 2018.
Speaking to Xinhua on Wednesday, ET CEO Tewolde Gebremariam says ET initially planned to fly this year but Jakarta international airport runway renovation scheduled to be completed in January 2018 delayed the flight plan.
With nearly 11 million inhabitants Jakarta is the cultural, business and political hub of Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy and member state of Group of 20 Industrialized nation (G20).
“This move will further increase ET’s presence in Asia, connecting Africa to the Asia region and in turn strengthening the tourism and trade ties between the peoples ofAfrica and Asia,” says Gebremariam.
The air carrier also plans to tap into the estimated 87 percent of the 260 million Indonesians who are Muslims by offering connecting air services from Jakarta to Islam’s two holiest places of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Indonesia also has a large expatriate community in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations which Ethiopian Airlines plans to tap as potential customer base.
Africa’s largest air carrier, Ethiopian Airlines currently operates around 111 international destinations spanning five continents.