Ethiopian Airlines plans to start flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, a Latin American Power house, this summer.
Sao Paulo, one of the largest and richest cities in the world, with a population of about 20 million, is predicted to be the 6th biggest urban area by 2025. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), its GDP in 2006 was about USD 2.83 billion. If Ethiopian Airlines opens a flight to Sao Paulo, it would be its first venture into Latin America and the airline's fifth continent after Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
While the current North American destinations are exclusively located in the US, the airline also plans to venture to US' northern neighbor with a flight to Toronto, Canada's largest city, by the summer of this year; accommodating the substantial Ethio-Canadian community.
Ethiopian Airlines is reportedly contemplating the direct route to Brazil because of its emergence as a prominent member of the world's leading economic block; BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Brazil recently overtook the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy.
Ethiopian Airlines expects many travelers to Brazil including a substantial business class. Brazil's famous historical and beach sites open up great prospects for tourism in both countries.
According to Marcelo A. Borges, first secretary and deputy mission at the Brazilian Embassy to Ethiopia, if the new flight route is opened it could mean a whole new market for business people and tourists.
He also said it could potentially make Addis Ababa Bole International Airport a hub for travelers from Latin America traveling to other African countries and beyond. Currently, no Brazilian airlines fly from Brazil to Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines recently launched flights to the tiny Indian Ocean island archipelago of Seychelles after 32 years of absence. It also aims to start non-stop flights to Cotonou, the economic capital of the Republic of Benin, effective by June 15. Ethiopian Airlines now flies to 65 destinations globally with multiple lines opening soon.