MANAMA: Gulf Air has added Addis Ababa to its growing network with the launch of non-stop scheduled flights to the Ethiopian capital. The carrier's inaugural flight GF0705 from Bahrain touched down at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport yesterday with a high-level delegation onboard led by the airline's chief executive officer Samer Majali.
Addis Ababa is Gulf Air's second route during the first month of the year, following the launch of a service to Isfahan in Iran.
Addis Ababa expands Gulf Air's global network to 47 global destinations covering Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Asia.
The airline will operate four flights a week on the Addis Ababa route, using an Airbus A320.
Gulf Air also announced an expanded codeshare agreement with Ethiopian Airlines. The agreement offers Gulf Air and Ethiopian Airlines passengers the choice to fly with either airline on routes between Bahrain and Addis Ababa, giving customers a choice of 16 flights per week on this route.
An extension of the codeshare agreement to onward flights from Bahrain to Middle Eastern and Asian destinations as well as from Addis Ababa to destinations in Eastern and Central Africa is already under discussion.
"We are delighted to commence services to Addis Ababa," said Mr Majali.
"We believe Ethiopia offers tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs and businessmen from Bahrain and the Middle East and that Bahrain offers unlimited business opportunities for the Ethiopian market.
"We are confident this new route will be a success for both our passenger and cargo operations, and we look forward to facilitating business and leisure traffic between the two countries and beyond," he added.
"Ethiopian Airlines welcomes Gulf Air to Addis Ababa and we look forward to a long-term collaboration and business partnership," said Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde G Mariam.
Ethiopian Airlines provides services to 39 cities in Africa and a total of 60 international destinations spanning throughout four continents.