Remarks by Ambassador Michael Raynor at the Ethiopian Airlines Inaugural Flight to Chicago

Michael Raynor 
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at the Ethiopian Airlines Inaugural Flight to Chicago
Ethiopian Airlines, Addis Ababa
June 10, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)  

Good afternoon.

Thank you for including me in this latest in an amazing series of milestones for Ethiopian Airlines.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated the arrival of the 100th aircraft in Ethiopian Airlines’ expanding fleet, and now, with this inaugural flight to Chicago, we have an excellent example of what that growing fleet can do:  reach more places and more people, and open more opportunities for global connections and trade.

I want to congratulate the Government of Ethiopia, Ato Tewolde Gebremariam, and his entire Ethiopian Airlines team on this extraordinary accomplishment.

We tend to think of aircraft in terms of personal travel, which is natural because that’s the part most of us see and experience.

And personal travel is important – the ability to see the world, try new experiences, encounter new cultures, and reconnect with our families and heritage – these are the best ways to remind us of how much we all have in common.

But air travel is also hugely important in terms of economics.

Business travelers can measure the distance to any part of the world in hours rather than weeks or months.

Perishable goods can reach far-flung markets without spoiling.

And since we all live under the same sky, air transport provides important connections to the global economy for all countries, regardless of their land or sea links.

So this latest connection between Ethiopia and the United States will provide new ways for our people to engage, for our businesses to connect, and for our economies to thrive.

In that sense, it’s fitting that this inaugural flight is taking place on one of Ethiopian Airline’s 72 Boeing aircraft, which make up nearly three-quarters of the entire fleet.

The continued expansion of Ethiopian Airlines’ global flight offerings is yet another example of the outstanding achievements of Ato Tewolde and his exceptional team in building and growing a world-class international airline.

So with that said, I’m greatly looking forward to enjoying this flight, and am honored to have been invited to help inaugurate this new link between our countries.

Congratulations to Ethiopia and to Ethiopian Airlines, Ato Tewolde, and his team, for your ambitious vision and your success in making that vision a reality.

Thank you.