Ethiopian historic maiden flight to Toronto touched down at Pearson International Airport on Tuesday July 17, 2012. Toronto has now become, with Washington D.C., the second destination served by Ethiopian in North America.
This first direct flight between Toronto and Africa was received with a colorful celebration held at Pearson International Airport in the presence of H.E. Ato Deriba Kuma, Minister of Transport of Ethiopia; H.E. Ms. Michèle Lévesque, Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia; Mr. Howard Eng, President and Chief Executive Officer of Greater Toronto Airports Authority; Mrs. Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga; and members of the Ethiopian community in Canada.
The ultra modern Ethiopian Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft that arrived in Toronto was received with a water salute, music and dance performance at check-in counters and departure gate, and with ribbon and cake cutting ceremonies.
With the commencement of this flight, which is the only direct connection between Toronto and Africa, Toronto will only be 12 hours direct flight away from Africa, thanks to Ethiopian B777-200 LR, the world’s longest range commercial aircraft, unique capabilities.
At the ceremony, Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, said "From now on, passengers between Canada and Africa, whether they travel for business or leisure, will be relieved from the hassles of additional requirements of transit visa, security inspection, change of aircraft and long transit waiting time and enjoy our direct flights."
Passengers travelling from major Canadian and US cities are now able to use fellow Star Alliance member carriers in North America such as Air Canada, United Airlines and US Airways, and find convenient connections, via Toronto, to 43 African cities served by Ethiopian through its Addis Ababa hub, while earning their miles on the flights.
"The introduction of this new service is incredibly important to Toronto. Regularly scheduled non-stop service from Toronto to the African continent marks a major milestone," said Howard Eng, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. "This service will help boost trade ties between Canada and Ethiopia, and will serve to connect the thousands of Ethiopians in the Toronto area with one of Africa’s largest markets with a population of more than 80 million people."
Ethiopian inaugural and consequent flights to Toronto are overbooked, which is a rare occurrence on new routes. "We are only given landing rights for two weekly flights. Considering the huge traffic that exists between Canada and Ethiopia/Africa, two weekly flights cannot adequately serve the travelling public," added CEO Tewolde. "I hope we will be allowed more weekly landing rights in the coming few months so that we can serve the traveling public with better frequencies and more weekly capacity."
Toronto’s addition to Ethiopian network is part of the airline’s route expansion plan set in its 15 year strategic roadmap, Vision 2025, of connecting Africa to the major economic, financial and industrial centers of the world.
Ethiopian, the fastest growing airline in Africa, will continue to add more routes with flights including to Sao Paulo, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and Americas, planned before the end of 2012.
Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and now the Airline provides dependable services to 69 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian is proud to be a Star Alliance Member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions towards the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won gold in the African Airline of the Year 2011/2012 Awards organized by the African Aviation News Portal. Ethiopian also received the 2011 AFRAA award for being consistently profitable over the years and has won the "AFRICAN CARGO AIRLINE OF THE YEAR 2011 Award” for its excellence in air cargo. Ethiopian also won the NEPAD Transport Infrastructure Excellence Awards 2009 and "the Airline of the Year 2009 Award" from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
With its acquisition of and firm orders for several new modern aircraft and its fast expanding network, the airline is well positioned to become the leading aviation group in Africa, per its Vision 2025 strategic roadmap.
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam Group Chief Executive Officer