Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Ethiopian Airlines has improved its connection between New York JFK Airport and Lagos by moving the flight to Lome from October 17.
The airline said that already, another American airport, Newark EWR, is served through the hub in Lome which is 30 minutes to Lagos by air. Before now, the connection was through Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. It said passengers are assured of the same quality of service and modern aircraft that has made it Africa’s leading airline
The airline also said that on Friday, October 16, it signed a milestone agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Addis Ababa and that the partnership is to source food from local farmers for in-flight meals.
‘Ethiopian Airlines and the US announced a new partnership agreement that will enable the nation’s flagship carrier to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers. The agreement was signed in Addis Ababa.
‘Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr Tewolde GebreMariam and US Ambassador Michael Raynor signed a memorandum of understanding in which the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing in order to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality and volume to serve its customers.
‘These new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams – with annual sales as high as $10 million in total – while providing Ethiopian Airlines farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.
‘USAID support will help Ethiopian Airlines identify local suppliers for the list of catering materials the airline might potentially require, as well as provide support to farmer cooperative unions, youth groups, women groups and other local agriculture businesses to enable them to meet production requirements. A US Government loan facility also will expand access to financing for local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the Ethiopian Airlines quality and supply demands.
‘We deeply value our relationship with USAID and extend our appreciation to USAID for all the support. The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality inflight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain. We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres.
‘The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in the truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors,’ said Ambassador Raynor.
‘This partnership agreement will run through December 2022 and will help pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines and local producers and farmers groups to continue these supply linkages,’ GebreMariam said.