The largest expert travel community:
  • 767,845 Total members
  • 10,440 Users online now
  • 1,720,057 Threads
  • 31,497,795 Posts

Why Ethiopian Won’t Stop Flying to China

Why Ethiopian Won’t Stop Flying to China
Taylor Rains

Despite the continued spread of the coronavirus, which has already claimed more than 900 lives, Ethiopian Airlines refuses to suspend its flights to and from China.

Pressure from Kenya

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has voiced concerns over Ethiopian’s continued service to China and has been pressuring the airline to halt operations for fear the virus may spread to Eastern Africa. He explained, “Our worry as a country is not that China cannot manage the disease. Our biggest worry is diseases coming into areas with weaker health systems like ours.” Other African carriers have suspended flights to China, including Kenya Airways and RwandAir.

Ethiopian’s Take

The airline believes that by canceling the routes, Africa and China would be “completely disconnected.” Ethiopian CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said, “It will not be morally acceptable to stop flying to China today because they have a temporary problem,” and that he will stand with his “Chinese brothers and sisters.” He went on the explain that the airline is taking maximum precautions to protect its passengers and crew from the virus, but “stopping flights was not one of them.”

He continued to explain that travelers from China will still make their way into Africa via other countries, such as Malaysia or Singapore. He added, “The transmission of the disease will be dangerously hidden … British Airways stopped flying to China for its economic reasons. But Chinese carriers are flying to the UK.”

Ethiopia/China Ties

China is one of Ethiopian Airlines’ most profitable and oldest markets, so canceling the route would hurt the carrier’s revenue. Furthermore, the Ethiopian government, who wholly-owns the carrier, is reluctant to sever any ties they have with China because the country has one of Africa’s largest influxes of Chinese immigrants, most of who are workers on major infrastructure projects. Ethiopia has received billions of dollars in loans from the country, as well as a lot of foreign investment. It is obvious the country is afraid of the political and economic repercussions from canceling the route.

View Comments (2)


  1. MimiB22

    February 12, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Well OK. I guess people will just have to trust the airline will be “taking all precautions”. But what are they? What happens when infected persons fly into Africa? Pandemics spread when travelers bring their illnesses into fresh territory and expose the unwary. They may spread via contaminated surfaces, airborne, person to person contact, person to object, … and so on. At present, it’s not known exactly when a person who’s been exposed becomes contagious. Some reports say people spread the virus prior to having any measurable symptoms. Some are saying the virus remains viable on surfaces for many days. All this is scary. Travelers need to be very wary. I’ll pass on riding Ethiopian Airlines.

  2. minhaoxue

    February 13, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    This is the key to the whole article : “ Ethiopia has received billions of dollars in loans from the country“.

    No one is flying to China now and this whole excuse of “standing with our brothers and sisters” is complete BS.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


More in News

Nintendo Switch Pop Up Airports

Here’s What They’re Giving Away at those Nintendo Switch Popups

FlyerTalkFebruary 13, 2020

Is Delta SkyMiles The Most Valuable Loyalty Program in the World?

Joe CortezFebruary 12, 2020

Boeing Received Zero Orders for New Jetliners in January

Taylor RainsFebruary 12, 2020

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.


I want emails from FlyerTalk with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails