Last updated: 11:43 AM ET, Fri July 31 2015

Obama Visits Ethiopia, Salutes its Airline

Airlines & Airports | David Cogswell | July 31, 2015

Obama Visits Ethiopia, Salutes its Airline

Photo courtesy Ethiopian Airlines

President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia this week during his Africa trip. Obama spent July 26-28 in Ethiopia. On July 28 he delivered a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa.

During his visit to Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, he commended the country for its contributions to the efforts to fight terrorism. With its geographical position in East Africa bordering Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Ethiopia is of considerable strategic importance to the U.S.

While in Ethiopia, Obama also discussed trade policies with Ethiopian leaders. Ethiopia’s travel industry is getting off the ground after many years of being off the tourist map because of internal political struggles.

In support of the country’s developing tourism industry, President Obama stopped at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and visited Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines Group.

Accompanied by a group of American senators and congressional representatives, the President took a tour of Ethiopian Airlines’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which the airline is calling “Africa First.”

The airline now has 13 Dreamliners in operation and has an additional eight on order.

Obama expressed his appreciation of the business relationship between Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing. He asked GebreMariam which of Ethiopian Airlines’ routes are the most profitable, and learned that Washington D.C. is among the airline’s most profitable routes, along with Beijing, Shanghai, Changzhou and Hong Kong, China, and Luanda, Angola.

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