With the easing of travel restrictions across the globe, Ethiopian Airlines is welcoming back business and leisure travellers with programmes aimed at safeguarding their health and safety.
The programme reinforces Ethiopian pledge to protect the health and safety of its customers and staff.
A statement issued in Accra by the Airlines said the steps the airline was taking to maintain customer and staff wellbeing through-out the service chain, begins from the first interaction with customers during ticketing/reservation up to arrival at destination.
During the pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline, was the go-to airline for essential travel, repatriation flights and airlift of medical and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian, said “the Airline is proud to be there when the world needed it most–repatriating citizens, re-uniting families, facilitating essential travel and transporting much needed medical and PPE for health professionals and the public under very difficult and challenging circumstances.
“We are proud to be an integral part of the fight against COVID-19. Now we want to play a leading role in the new-normal, to a very large extent, it’s about getting back the confidence of business and leisure travellers,” he said.
The Group CEO said “With the protective measures we are taking in line with Center for Disease Control, International Aviation Transportation Association, International Civil Aviation Organization and World Health Organisation guidelines, customers and staff can rest assured that their safety and health are well looked after when flying with us.”
Mr Tewolde said customers were, however, advised to check travel restrictions of destination countries prior to arriving at the airport for a flight with facemasks being mandatory for travel.
“Except children under the age two, all customers must keep their masks on throughout their journey,” he added.
He said all ET customer-facing staff would be in PPE, which includes ticket offices, airport and lounge staff, as well as cabin crew.
He said on-board service was redesigned to minimize contact while maintaining the African flavoured Ethiopian hospitality.
“Items, such as magazines, menus and other reading materials that were traditionally shared will no longer be available,” he said.
The Group CEO said customers holding tickets purchased before August 31, 2020 and valid for travel until September 30, 2020 could rest assured that their tickets would be valid until 31 December 2021.
He said customers, who have exchanged their tickets for vouchers could utilize the vouchers within one year.
He said it was essential that customers satisfy destination entry requirements such as health certificates and fill health declaration forms if required.
Customers feeling unwell are strongly encouraged not to travel and travel only when feeling well, meanwhile the airline has indicated that unwell customers will not be allowed to enter the airport and will be denied boarding a flight.
He said all Ethiopian aircraft were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to departing from the hub, and at turnaround stations.
At the airport, enhanced health screenings, including temperature checks, are expected to be conducted and to ensure adequate social distancing, markings are placed through-out the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport terminal building and hand sanitisers will be available for use.
Passengers must check in their cabin baggage and they are allowed to bring on board only essential items such as laptops, handbags, briefcases, and baby items with all checked-in bags sanitised before being loaded onto the aircraft.
He said on board, in business class complimentary hygiene kits that include masks, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer would be provided.
“In economy, masks, hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes will be available on demand. “Comfort items” such as pillows, blankets, headphones, and toys are hygienically sealed. On-board lavatories will also be sanitized frequently during flight,” he said.
He said Menu’s, Magazines and newspapers would, however, not be available onboard, and meanwhile crew were trained to handle flight operations in a COVID-19 travel world.
Mr Tewolde said as countries continue to open their borders and relax travel restrictions, Ethiopian was ready to increase frequencies to accommodate the demand by focusing on the wellbeing of customers and staff.
Ethiopian is happy to welcome back business and leisure travellers.