Ethiopian Airlines’ decision to continue operating direct flights to China amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak threatens to erode the airline’s hardwon brand equity. While 59 other carriers from 44 different countries have all grounded their flights to China, Ethiopian Airlines insists that it will follow directives from the World Health Organization and until it is deemed unsafe by the international body, the airline will continue its daily flight schedule to/from China.
Their decision to keep flying to China is provoking an increasingly toxic response online and in the Ethiopian press. The company’s Twitter page is flooded with pleas from African users for the airline to change course. “This decision is reckless as it put entire African continent at risk,” said Zimbabwean entrepreneur Kelvin Mupungu, adding that threat posed by the continued flights endangers the entire continent since “most African transit via Ethiopia.”
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