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Ethiopian Airlines explores commercial tie-ups with IndiGo, SpiceJet

MUMBAI: Africa’s largest carrier Ethiopian Airlines, which already has a codeshare pact with Tata Group-owned Air India, is looking to have “commercial” tie-ups with domestic budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet, a senior company official said.

The airline also said it is also evaluating the prospects of setting up an aircraft (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility in India. It currently operates its non-stop flight services to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The airline also has freighter services to Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.

Notably, the airline recently completed 50 years of its operations in Mumbai. “India is one of our strategic markets in Asia and we have been providing critical air connectivity between India and Africa for decades.

It is one of the critical destinations for the passenger and cargo services for Ethiopian Airlines,” Ethiopian Airlines’ Regional director for India Subcontinent Tigist Eshetu told PTI in an interaction.

Ethiopian Airlines started flying to Delhi from capital city Addis Ababa from 1966 and later started services to Mumbai as well from December 1971. It added Bengaluru to its network from late 2019.

Ethiopian Airlines has been constantly expanding its operations in India with additional frequency, new cities and aircraft upgrades. This trend will continue in the forthcoming years too, she said.

Stating that the airline is set to commence services from Chennai from July 2 with three weekly flights, which will be served with either a Boeing 737 Max or Boeing 787 Dreamliner depending upon the market demand, Eshetu said other destinations such as Ahmedabad and Hyderabad are also on the radar going forward.

Besides, “we have a code share agreement with Air India and SPA (Special Prorate Agreement) with Vistara. We are assessing and in communication with Spicejet and IndiGo for commercial tie-ups,” she said, without divulging details.

SPA is a pact between two or more airlines on the apportionment of through-fares on journeys with two or more legs operated by different airlines. Emphasising that India has always been its strategic market since 1966, she said, “It is our desire to continue to serve India with enhanced capacities.

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