Ethiopian Airlines is celebrating 50 years of success serving the United Kingdom.
The Airlines offers daily non-stop A350 Airbus flights from London Heathrow (Terminal 2) to Addis Ababa and four weekly B787 Dreamliner flights from Manchester (Terminal 2) to Addis Ababa, carrying over 10,000 passengers monthly with connections to over 60 destinations across Africa.
The Airline’s inaugural flight arrived in London-Heathrow on a Boeing 720-B, commencing with two flights a week. The flight was originally operated via Cairo, Rome, and Frankfurt in First Class and Economy Class.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said: “Positioned as the Heart of Europe, the UK has always been a strong and important market for Ethiopian Airlines. Celebrating 50 years is a success story of our loyalty to serving the UK with both passenger and freighter flights. As we mark half a century since we first landed in the UK, we look forward to an ever-growing service to the country with more destinations and flights.”
Henock Woubishet, area manager UK and Ireland, said: “This is a big anniversary for Ethiopian Airlines as it highlights our unwavering commitment to serving the UK. During the rest of the year, we will be celebrating this milestone with a series of events, including FAM trips, campaigns, and promotions.
Türkiye, Ethiopia seek to mediate peace in Sudan conflict
Türkiye’s Foreign Ministry announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akçapar is heading to Ethiopia for a four-day working visit to discuss a permanent solution to the violent conflict in Sudan as evacuations of foreign nationals through the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa continue.
Akçapar will hold talks with both Ethiopian and African Union officials to discuss the repatriation of Turkish citizens in conflict-torn Sudan, as well as bilateral relations and regional developments.
Last Friday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu touted Akçapar’s “expertise in mediation” as he confirmed the visit and assured Türkiye and Ethiopia would work together to act as mediators to find a solution to the conflict as part of efforts launched by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
During Akçapar’s meetings with AU authorities, decisions taken at the third Türkiye-Africa Partnership Summit in 2021 and progress in joint projects will also be reviewed.
Opportunities for cooperation with the African Union in efforts to establish peace and stability on the continent will also be discussed, according to the statement.
At least 528 people have been killed and more than 4,500 injured in clashes between Sudan’s army and paramilitaries since April 15, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry.
Ethiopian Airlines commences Arabic, French services at Centre
Ethiopian Airlines said it has started providing its Global Customer Interaction Center services in two additional international languages.
The statement hinted that the Center underwent a major reform in 2014, expanding its interaction scope with customers from call handling to an omni-channel interaction leveraging multiple channels, including social media.
Mesfin Tasew, the Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, while commenting on the initiative, expressed delight at the further expansion of its services at the Center.
He explained that the interaction center would further use Arabic and French to handle queries from the airline’s customers. “The addition of these languages is a game changer as it will enable us to cater to our customers in their preferred languages. It will also increase our customer reach in locations where these languages are spoken predominantly.”
He says this proves its commitment and relentless efforts to elevate customers’ experiences.
Ethiopian Airlines’ Global Customer Interaction Center currently operates 24/7 with its state-of-the-art technology, catering to all its customers worldwide from its brand-new multi-floor building located within the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines Group.
UN agency suspends food aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray amid theft
The United Nations food relief agency has suspended aid deliveries to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region amid an internal investigation into the theft of food meant for hungry people, according to four humanitarian workers.
The World Food Program (WFP) is responsible for delivering food from the UN and other partners to Tigray, the center of a devastating two-year civil war that ended with a ceasefire in November.
WFP informed its partners on April 20 that it was temporarily suspending deliveries of food to Tigray amid reports of food misappropriation, one of the four humanitarian workers told the AP. Three other aid workers confirmed this information. They all insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to a journalist on this matter.
Last month, the AP reported that the WFP was investigating cases of food misappropriation and diversion in Ethiopia, where a total of 20 million people need humanitarian help due to drought and conflict.
A letter sent by the WFP’s Ethiopia director on April 5 asked humanitarian partners to share “any information or cases of food misuse, misappropriation, or diversion that you are aware of or that are brought to your attention by your staff, beneficiaries, or local authorities.”
Scholz’s East Africa trip to address regional conflict, green energy
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aims to discuss the conflict in Sudan, signal his support for the peace process in Ethiopia, and explore cooperation on green hydrogen with Kenya during his trip to East Africa this week, officials said.
Scholz’s three-day stay in Ethiopia and Kenya, which will include a business delegation, is his second official visit to Africa as chancellor as the West increasingly vies for influence and trade worldwide with other powers, notably China.
In Ethiopia, he is slated to meet with the prime minister and the interim leader of the Tigray region to discuss progress in ensuring peace after a two-year war that killed tens of thousands of people, German government officials told a briefing. He will also meet with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss the latest developments in Sudan, economic cooperation, and global challenges such as climate change.
He will meet with Kenya’s president to discuss trade and other issues. On Saturday, Scholz is expected to visit Africa’s biggest geothermal plant, at Lake Naivasha, in the geologically active Great Rift Valley, which is key to Kenya’s plans for producing green hydrogen.
Kenya’s economic growth slows to 4.8% in 2022
Kenya’s economy grew by 4.8 percent in 2022, a slower pace than the 7.6 percent recorded the previous year, the statistics office has said.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released the Economic Survey 2022, detailing how various sectors and the job market performed.
Most sectors recorded decelerated growth compared to 2021, with agriculture and manufacturing contracting in the period.
Numerous unfavorable supply-side shocks marked the year 2022. The persistent shocks, which are still present, created permanent negative effects, impacting economic activity and the cost of living, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said.
The economic survey will inform a raft of measures on policy reforms to support economic activity and address cost-of-living concerns, he added.
The top export earners last year were tea at Sh163.3 billion, horticulture at Sh152 billion, apparel at Sh43 billion, and coffee at Sh37.1 billion.
The number of ECDEs and primary schools decreased between 2021 and 2022 even as the number of pupils increased, highlighting the impact the pandemic disruption had on the viability of schools. Birth registration also went down from 83 percent to 81 percent.
Lufthansa Group looks to boost East Africa operations
The Lufthansa Group is responding to air travel demand in East Africa by adding further capacity as passenger numbers edge closer to 2019 levels.
For the first time in its history, Lufthansa will fly to Nairobi daily throughout the year. The group’s leisure airline, Eurowings Discover, will also increase its service to Kenya, while Belgium’s flag carrier will add more flights to East Africa.
Since the start of operations in Kenya, the airline had not previously operated daily flights to the capital. Currently, Lufthansa operates flights between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO) five times a week.
Starting June 3, the carrier will operate daily flights between the two cities. The Airbus A330 flight will depart Frankfurt at 11:25 and arrive in Nairobi at 20:30, while the returning flight departs Nairobi each evening at 22:25, arriving in Frankfurt at 05:40 the next morning. There will be numerous options for onward connections during the day.
Initially, the airline planned to enhance its Nairobi service for the summer flight schedule. However, the carrier will operate daily flights all year round due to positive booking trends.
Heavy rain, floods kill at least 109 in Rwanda, six in Uganda
Heavy rain that triggered flooding and landslides in western and northern Rwanda has killed at least 109 people, the state-run broadcaster said, as authorities searched for survivors trapped in their homes.
Muddy water flowed swiftly down an inundated road and destroyed houses in a video clip posted by the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.
“Our main priority now is to reach every house that has been damaged to ensure we can rescue any person who may be trapped,” François Habitegeko, governor of Rwanda’s Western Province, told Reuters.
The death toll stood at 95 in the province, he said. The state broadcaster’s toll of 109 included deaths from a second region, the Northern Province.
Some people had been rescued and taken to the hospital, Habitegeko said, but he did not say how many.
The hardest-hit districts in the Western Province were Rutsiro, with 26 dead; Nyabihu, with 19, and 18 each in Rubavu and Ngororero, he said.
Habitegeko said the rain started at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday and that the River Sebeya had burst its banks.
The Rwanda Meteorology Agency has forecast rainfall above average in May for the East African nation.