Ethiopian Airlines, which has a code-share agreement with Air India, today said it will be doubling daily operations from Mumbai by the month-end and add a second flight from Delhi beginning this summer.
The flag carrier of Ethiopia has been operating from the city since December 1971 and from Delhi since 1965. The second largest airline in the African continent currently connects Delhi and Mumbai with one daily flight each to its main hub Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
The airline also said it will be increasing code-share with Air India from the present five in Africa and seven in the country from this summer.
It will be deploying the B787 Dreamliners for both the flights from Mumbai to Addis Ababa and has offered buy-one-get -one free tickets on the second flight and 40 per cent discount if a passenger does not have a companion.
With the double daily flights to Mumbai, the carrier aims to provide optimal connectivity options for passengers travelling between India and its 49 destinations across Africa. Out of the 53 countries in the continent, Ethiopian flies to 49 of them, Ethiopian Airlines Regional Director for the Subcontinent Tadesse Tilahun told reporters here.
He said the airline's traffic from Mumbai grew 10 per cent last year, while the expansion was 23 per cent over 2013, while from Delhi the same was 11 and 24 per cent, respectively. Average daily passengers from Mumbai last year stood at 212, while from Delhi it was 94.
However, the airline is yet to make profit from its India operations, an official said, and cited high overhead cost as the reason for the poor show.
Mukesh Bhatia, General Manager, Western Region, Air India, which flies to five African destinations through its code share with Ethiopian, said the airlines together saw a massive 40 per cent rise in revenue last year in the Indo- African sector.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said, "they are very bullish on the prospects of Africa-India market. By increasing our frequency to to Mumbai and expanding our code-share agreement with Air India, fellow Star Alliance partner with the inclusion of domestic points in India and major destinations in Africa, we aim to become the airline of choice for travel between Africa and India.
"Going forward, we plan to increase our current frequency to New Delhi and start operations to additional destinations in the South."
Ethiopian, which serves 84 global destinations, is the fastest growing and most profitable airline in Africa.