Ethiopian begins London LGW; now has passenger flights to 25 airports in Europe and North America
Ethiopian Airlines inaugurated its third UK route on 21 November with the launch of Addis Ababa to London LGW. It is served 3-weekly using the A350-900, the carrier’s aircraft of choice to Europe. It marks the first time since 2008 that the 5,880-kilometre airport pair has been served.
Copenhagen, London LGW and Madrid added this year
The launch of London LGW means that Ethiopian now has 15 weekly UK flights, although far below its bilateral allowance. There is also a daily service to London LHR, while Manchester sees it 5-weekly. Commenced in December 2018, Manchester was initially 3-weekly via Brussels, before switching to operating via Geneva and increasing in frequency.
Ethiopian has not just added LGW in 2023. On 22 May, it began a 5-weekly service to Copenhagen, routing via Vienna. It marked its return to the Danish capital after 20 years. On 9 December, it will return to Madrid via Rome FCO, with a 3-weekly service. It last served the Spanish capital in March 2020. They build on Zurich, which started on 31 October 2022.
Between December 2018-October 2019, Ethiopian offered Addis Ababa-Madrid-Dublin, before switching Ireland flights to operating via Brussels. The carrier no longer serves Dublin. Examining Cirium data tells that it is one of three European destinations to be cut since 2004, along with Amsterdam (served until 2007) and Barcelona (briefly in 2018).
Network comprises 19 European airports with passenger flights
The additional destinations this year means that Ethiopian will serve 19 passenger airports across the continent. If available seat kilometres (ASKs) – which factors in distance – is considered, Addis Ababa-London LHR is the leading market this winter. It results from a daily frequency, using high-capacity equipment (348-seat A350-900s) and covering among the longest of distances. Note that some of the top 10 are served on a one-stop basis, whether triangularly or as a terminator.
Six North American airports and nine routes have passenger service
Despite no Delta Air Lines codeshare agreement, Ethiopian launched Atlanta on 17 May 2023. Due to Addis’ very high elevation, which reduces aircraft performance on long routes, it originally operated via Dublin, although it has since changed to Rome FCO. Historically, Ethiopian flew via Rome to North America, but switched to Ireland and has since returned to Italy.
Nearly all US/Canada services operate non-stop back to Addis Ababa. The exceptions are Addis-Abidjan-JFK (returned in May 2023), Addis-Lome-Washington IAD (started June 2022) and Addis-Lome-Newark. They operate via West Africa in both directions. Those stopping in Lome are timed to benefit from Ethiopian partner ASKY’s network across West and Central Africa.
While Ethiopian serves Atlanta, Chicago, Newark, New York JFK, Toronto and Washington IAD, Houston and Los Angeles have been cut. The Star Alliance hub of Houston started on 17 December 2019, just before COVID hit, and ceased the following March. Given pandemic-driven pause, it may return. In contrast, Los Angeles operated between June 2015 and February 2019.