Addis Ababa(CCTV NewsContent)–The Ethiopian Airlines now has begun hiring Chinese nationals as cabin crew in line with its continued focus on building market share within the Asia-Africa market.
Intensive training for new Chinese recruits to Ethiopian Airlines is underway, and they can’t wait to put what they’re learning – into practice.
“You know it’s really exciting to be here because we are the first group to come here to be the Chinese cabin crew to join the Ethiopian Airlines. We have prepared so much in China when we are in China. So we want to come here to bring our culture here and also to learn the Ethiopian culture,” said Liu Shiyu, an Ethiopian Airlines trainee.
It’s a good opportunity for the company too.
The Ethiopian Airlines now flies directly to and from China four times a day – including four cities: Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai.
“We have so many Chinese customers on our flights. Every single day you get four flights from China. Every single day, every morning here. So some of them they may not speak good English and therefore they need Chinese cabin crew for language purposes, for cultural purposes, and also we want them to feel that it is their airline, it is their brand,” Said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines.
So far 28 Chinese cabin crew have been trained at this academy – alongside trainees from African countries include Libya and Malawi.
“The people here are very friendly. The instructors here are very professional and the students here are very very kind. So I think if I am to fly for Ethiopian I just feel at home just like in China, because of the close relationship between China and Africa, we are just like brothers and sisters,” said He Xupeng, an Ethiopian Airlines trainee.
Ethiopian Airlines wants to market Addis as the African hub for visitors from China.
The terminal has a help desk with Chinese staff – Mandarin translations for signage – even a noodle bar in the business class lounge.
“We are trying to make Addis a Chinese friendly hub airport for the continent, because there areclose to a million Chinese working and investing in Africa. So the partnership is bringing that kind of profile,” said Tewolde Gebremariam.
Many African airlines have been battling of late – with national carriers in Kenya and South Africa both sustaining heavy losses.
The Ethiopian Airlines though believes it’s on the right route to success – and China is a key engine for growth.