Ethiopian Airlines parleys USAID for better in-flight meals

ETHIOPIAN Airlines has signed a milestone agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Addis Ababa to source food from local farmers for in-flight meals.

This is just as the airline announced that it has improved the connection between Lagos and New York JFK Airport by moving the flight to Lome as against Abidjan, Cote D’ivoire.

The new partnership agreement between ET and USAID will enable the African flagship carrier to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers.

The agreement which was signed by Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam and U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Michael Raynor, allows the USAID to provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing in order to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality and volume to serve its customers.

These new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams with annual sales as high as $10 million in total while providing Ethiopian Airlines farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.

USAID’s support will help Ethiopian Airlines identify local suppliers for the list of catering materials the airline might potentially require, as well as provide support to farmer cooperative unions, youth groups, women groups and other local agriculture businesses to enable them to meet production requirements.

A US government loan facility also will expand access to financing for local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the Ethiopian Airlines quality and supply demands.

Commenting on the feat, ET Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam declared: “We deeply value our relationship with USAID and extend our appreciation to USAID for all the support. The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality inflight meals to global passengers, while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain. We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres.

For the US ambassador, Raynor: “The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors”.

This partnership agreement will run through December 2022 and will help pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines and local producers and farmer groups to continue these supply linkages.

On the improved connection between Lagos and New York Airport, Ethiopian airline has  assured passengers of the same quality of service and modern aircraft that has made Ethiopian Airlines Africa’s leading airline.

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