After an appraisal of the three-year operations of Ethiopian Airlines at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, business leaders and traders in the South East zone have appealed to the airlines’ management to commence daily flights from the airport.
Ethiopian Airlines expanded its operations in Nigeria to Enugu with scheduled flights from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in 2013 and has consistently serviced the route.
Citing the positive impact of the airlines’ operations on the South East economy, the stakeholders, under the aegis of Ogbete Main Market Association (OMMTA) in Enugu State, urged the airlines’ management to commence cargo lifting into the airport.
They made the appeal during a meeting with officials of Ethiopian Airlines led by the General Manager, Mr. Solomon Begashaw, in Ogbete. The Vice Chairman of OMMTA, Mr. Anthony Nebechukwu Nwodo, said the people of the South East zone, especially the international business class among them, appreciated this singular honour done the region by the Ethiopian Airlines.
He said: “We earnestly urge the management of Ethiopian Airlines to run its scheduled flights from Akanu Ibiam International Airport on daily basis, instead of thrice weekly as obtained at present. We also request for the commencement of cargo lifting into Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to facilitate airlifting and discharge of our goods directly into Enugu.”
Begashaw was in the town to pay a thank you visit to the leadership of Ogbete Main Market. The team also paid a similar visit to major markets in Aba, Onitsha, Owerri and Abakaliki, all in the South East zone of the country. The tour is part of the airline’s reach out to Nigerian travellers over the last three months. Nwodo reminded the management of Ethiopian Airlines that Ndigbo are reckoned as the most travelled in Africa, therefore if the airline could expand its operations to and from Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, “you are bound to make more profit.”
He continued: “We want Ethiopian Airlines to increase the frequency of its flight from three weekly to a daily schedule. We are also asking for a big aircraft like the B777 along with regular cargo flights to bring back our loads when we travel.” The business leaders assured the airlines’ executives that they would support the company to succeed in Enugu as they consider it as an organised airline.
In his response, Begashaw promised improvements on service delivery. He disclosed that the Ethiopian Airlines charged the same fare from Enugu and Lagos since March this year, adding that the extension of their flights into Enugu had made Easterners to board their international flights from Enugu. Thus, the era and pains of travelling to Lagos to get an international flight out of Nigeria is gone, he said.
Begashaw promised that Ethiopian Airlines will begin cargo flights to Enugu once they get the approval from the Federal Government. (The Authority)