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Ethiopian Airlines to China: last international carrier standing

Lambasted for maintaining its flights to China at the height of the pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines has stood its ground and currently operates flights to and from Europe, the new epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. This makes the carrier one of the last companies still operating intercontinental flights.  

After being loaded onto a cargo plane on the evening of 21 March in Guangzhou, 108 tonnes of medical supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma arrived at Addis Ababa airport on Sunday, 22 March via an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777 Freighter.

The boss of e-commerce site Alibaba pledged on 17 March via his foundation to send every African country 100,000 masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 medical protective suits.

And it is thanks to Ethiopian Airlines –  which boasts the top network on the continent – that these supplies began to be redistributed on Monday.

After inking an agreement in November 2019 with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Alibaba is looking to transform Addis Ababa into an African global e-commerce hub, particularly for Ethiopian coffee, as the conglomerate has already done with Kigali.

READ MORE: Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Paul Pogba mobilise against coronavirus in Africa

Pan-Africanism of the skies

This is a powerful symbol for a company that has in recent years been the flag bearer of a certain pan-Africanism of the skies, arousing suspicions of hegemony from a number of critics.

However, on 20 March, Ethiopian Airlines suspended 30 international routes, including Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Madagascar and Nigeria, some of which remain so indefinitely.

Source: theafricanreport