Adewale Sanyaolu, Houston, Texas
Ethiopian Airlines on Monday commenced direct flights into Houston, USA from Lome, Togo as part of efforts to spread its services across major cities in the country.
This was even as the Executive Director, Houston Airport, Mario Diaz, disclosed that the commencement of direct flights to Houston by Ethiopian Airlines will contribute about $100 million into the US economy yearly.
Speaking at the launch of the inaugural flight held at the George Bush International Airport, Houston, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde Gabriel, said the airline will operate three frequencies weekly from Lome, Togo into Houston using the Boeing 787 dreamliner.
He said with direct flight services into Houston from Lome, Ethiopian Airlines has been able to connect Houston to the entire continent of Africa, Middle East and Asia, adding that the launch ceremony makes it the airlines 127th destination in the world.
He explained that the connections have been designed in such a way that it will be one of the most direct and fastest route for the entire continent of Africa, Middle East and Asia, saying Houston is the fifth gateway in North America and the fourth in US next to Washington, New York and Chicago.
Going down memory lane, he said the airline has been working very hard for a long period of time to fly into Houston but thanked God that the dream finally became a reality on Dec 16, 2019 with the inauguration of the direct flight into Houston. ‘‘This is also a very important connection for East Africa, South Africa and Central Africa and also a very important connection to West Africa. This is the only direct connection to West Africa because we are using our second half in Lome for West Africa to connect passengers to the entire West and Central Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines is now the largest Airline on the continent with a fleet of 130 aircraft; it is by far the airline with the most extensive network in the world connecting Africa to the rest of the world and Africa within.
He commended his management team and the over 16,000 workers across the globe for working day and night to ensure that the airline shines in the sky.
Daiz said Houston is now officially reconnected to the African continent through the efforts of Ethiopian Airlines to make business seamless for international travelers and others in the corporate world.
He said through the flight into Houston, Ethiopian Airlines is creating unity among people of diverse groups, promoting culture and strengthening values.
According to him, Houston is known to some international corporations, including some of the largest companies in west African, adding that, Houston will now have more direct access to west Africa, a key global market for any serious trading partner.
Some of the passengers who spoke to Daily Sun on the inaugural flight, expressed satisfaction at the high level of service delivery by the crew members of the airline.
An Immigration Officer from Ghana, Vera Obeng Konadu, commended the management of Ethiopian Airlines for initiating direct flights from West Africa to Houston, adding that this will save passengers from the rigors of longer connecting hours .
The aircraft is clean, modern and comfortable. The cabin crew members are also courteous and welcoming. I enjoy the lovely reception alongside the in-flight entertainment which was awesome and can be compared to that of any star alliance airline.