Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Airlines Group refuted as “false allegation” a report that its service was blocking Tigrayans from travel to and the the Tigray regional state.
On Wednesday 31 May, The Guardian newspaper published a story that “a civil society organization has launched a lawsuit against Ethiopian Airlines, accusing the state-owned carrier of discriminating against ethnic Tigrayans.”
Ethiopian Airlines resumed travel between Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, and Adddis Abeba on 28 December following the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement signed between the federal government and the TPLF in November 2022. It has since started services between started connecting Shire with Addis Abeba.
However, less than two weeks later, restriction has been made on some passengers en route to Addis Abeba from Mekelle, witnesses told Addis Standard at the time.
According to the Guardian this week, the law suit “brought by Human Rights First, a local NGO, claims the airline is preventing “Tigrayans aged 15 to 60” from buying tickets for flights from the northern Tigray region to Addis Abeba, the federal capital. It also claims the company has increased ticket prices for the route as a form of “collective sanction” against the people of Tigray.”
In response, Ethiopian Airlines said that it “is enhancing its services to the region. In cognizant to the growing demand, currently Nine (9) daily flights are being operated to the region’s capital Mekelle and Shire. These flight services are among the largest daily connectivity to a region in the airline’s domestic services. We will continue to monitor the demand and increase frequencies accordingly.”
It also dismissed the accusations of discrimination that as “a customer-centric commercial airline, Ethiopian does not discriminate against passengers based on ethnicity, age, gender or any other factors; it does not even request for any document to prove ethnicity in the process of providing its services. Ethiopian is committed to offering smooth flight services to its domestic and international passengers without any discrimination,” and called the accusations “false allegations.” AS