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New Route of the Day (21 November 2023): Ethiopian Airlines between Addis Ababa and London LGW


Ethiopian Airlines inaugurated flights between its hub in Addis Ababa and London LGW Tuesday 21 November, becoming its second London airport after Heathrow. The 5,875-kilonetre service will be maintained 3-weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, with the 343-seat A350-900 aircraft. It faces no competition on the route.

Flight ET718 departs Addis Ababa at 00:15 local time, arriving in London LGW at 05:15 local time. The return service, operating as flight ET719, takes off from the UK capital at 10:10 local time, touching back down in Ethiopia at 20:40 local time.

What they said

Mesfin Tasew, the CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines Group, said: “We have a 50-year relation with UK. We give high regards to our Heathrow services and now we are excited to add Gatwick to our vast global network. Over the years, we have established commendable partnerships with over 100 UK based companies in the aviation sector. Our expansion in the UK, among others, will enable us to nurture this cooperation and partnership to a higher level.”

Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development at London Gatwick, added: “We are delighted to welcome Ethiopian Airlines back to London Gatwick this winter. As the largest carrier in Africa, this is an excellent addition to our network and adds a valuable, direct connection to Eastern Africa. Ethiopian Airlines is the latest in a number of carriers looking to operate long-haul routes from Gatwick, which further highlights the strong demand for slots at our airport. It’s also fantastic news for passengers across London and the South East to have more choice and direct services to Addis Ababa, as well as greater opportunities for onward connections across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.”

Ethiopian returns to Gatwick after 17 years

London LGW becomes Ethiopian Airlines’ third gateway in the UK, joining London LHR and Manchester. Furthermore, it is the Star Alliance member’s 20th destination in Europe. It previously served London LGW in 2005 and 2006 with a 757 aircraft.

Prague Airport

Ethiopian Airlines has a total of 15-weekly flights departing to the UK during W23/24. These include daily operations to London LHR and 5-weekly to Manchester, although the latter is maintained via Geneva in Switzerland. Overall, the carrier has 5,145-weekly seats departing its hub bound for the UK. All flights to the UK market are maintained by A350-900 aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines has an ambitious plan to quadruple its number of passengers to more than 60 million by increasing the number of international destinations from the current 130 to 207 and by increasing the fleet from the current 140 to 271 aircraft as part of its Vision 2035 plan.

London Gatwick puts focus on long-haul

Long-haul has become a big focus for London LGW this year. Norse Atlantic has based its growth around the airport, with flights to Barbados and Montego Bay set to launch on 1 December. London LGW was also the first in the UK to restore services to China in the aftermath of the pandemic.

This summer, Air India moved four of its routes from London LHR to London LGW, including Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, and Kochi. On the other hand, WestJet will launch flights from Halifax and St. John’s to the UK’s second-largest airport next summer season.

London LGW has now set its sights on securing nonstop flights to South America. It is currently the airport’s largest underserved geographic region.

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