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Ethiopia commences new routes to South Sudan’s Upper Nile region

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 25, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines has started additional flights to South Sudan’s Malakal town in the Upper Nile region, the second destination to the region the Airliner offers services to.

Ethiopian Airlines announced that flights to Malakal began on 17 June 2011.

In May 2006, the Ethiopian airlines for the first time launched weekly four flight services to South Sudan’s capital Juba, with stop over in Kenya and in Entebbe, Uganda upon the outward and return legs. The latest operation will bring the airline’s global destinations to 62.

The airline will operate the routes to Malakal, four times a week on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

South Sudan is due to officially become an independent state on July 9, making it the world’s newest state. With poor infrastructure and underdeveloped road system, the additional flight schedule will have an important part in allowing South Sudan connect with neighboring countries.

"The new flight service to Malakal provides the best connectivity and convenience for business people as well as the general public of the South Sudan." said Tewolde Gebre-Mariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines.

“The new operation will connect Malakal to the vast Ethiopian route network worldwide via the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport hub’’ a statement from the company said.

Similarly, Ethiopian airlines have begun new flight to Hangzhou, China five times weekly.

The horn of Africa country, the continent’s biggest coffee exporter, beaome landlocked after its former northern region, Eritrea, declared its independence in 1993. Since then air travel has played an increasingly important role in the Ethiopia’s international transport services.

(ST)