After a temporary departure of seven months, Ethiopian returns to Buenos Aires (EZE) from January 08. In this way, the airline also recovers its second regular passenger destination in South America, after Sao Paulo (GRU). In June, Ethiopian suspends its passenger services to Argentina due to extensive border closures imposed by the Alberto Fernández administration. The reason is that political restrictions prevent having a minimum demand that ensures the viability of the operation.
Due to the uncertainty, at the time it was considered that an extension of the measure could mean a possible exit from the country like other operators. At the time, the company also justified its decision in the repeated administrative decisions of the Argentine authorities to authorize, month by month and arbitrarily, the flights that the airlines intend to carry out.
In addition to operating with limited capacity, as a result of the border closures in force in 2020 and 2021, these restrictions harm air transport, with uncertainties in programming, schedule changes that restrict connection possibilities, and flight cancellations. With the opening of borders in November for all foreigners fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the scenario changes favorably, although it is not optimal. In this way, the Ethiopian airline proposes to resume its services in December, but is prevented from doing so by a denial by the Argentine authorities on the grounds of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 and its origin in the countries of southern Africa. Africa.
The granting of permits for Ethiopian to operate again is interpreted as an attempt to restore normality, considering that the Omicron variant, despite its greater contagion capacity, does not represent greater risks in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, according to studies. scientists. With the re-entry of this airline, the trans-Andean country recovers the lost connectivity with Africa and beyond through the Addis Ababa hub. According to the schedule, Ethiopian has three weekly flights scheduled on the Addis Ababa – Sao Paulo (GRU) – Buenos Aires (EZE) route with Boeing 787-8 equipment.
Weekly capacity for these months is planned at 1,620 shared seats on the entire route in both directions. After the departure of Emirates and Qatar Airways, the offer of Ethiopian Airlines becomes relevant in Argentina as it is the only airline to provide a direct link with Africa and offer connections to different points of that continent, as well as the Middle East and Asia.
Practically, it is a direct competition to the presence of Turkish Airlines. To date, it is the only airline that manages to turn Africa into an air bridge between South America and the East, after projects from other companies failed to materialize. The operation in Brazil and Argentina is part of Ethiopian Airlines’ Vision 2025 strategy to position itself as a global airline. His landing in Argentina in 2018 is also understood as the result of political efforts made under the government of Mauricio Macri to improve Argentina’s international connectivity through aviation.