Ethiopian Airlines Is Making Huge Advances In The US

When the most successful airline in Africa (who we are big fans of and for a good reason you can read here) makes a play for US travelers, it’s worth it to stop and take notice!

According to Onemileatatime, The airline recently revealed new routes to US for the summer period of 2019, something new, something old and something canceled.

Ethiopian Airlines Aircraft Taxiing
Ethiopian Airlines Aircraft Taxiing

What are the details?

There are three major route changes that readers need to be aware of.

Los Angeles Canceled

The first is Ethiopian canceling their Addis Ababa to Los Angeles route. Originally, the airline ran a stopover flight since 2015 to LA via Dublin, where it actually used fifth freedom to pick up (and drop off passengers). Whilst this gave the airline skin in the European transatlantic game, for whatever reason it was changed to fly via Lome, Togo in December last year instead.

Ethiopian Airlines Is Making Huge Advances In The US
The route between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles. The solid line is the original route, and the dotted line is the replacement route that has been running for six months.

But this has not seemed to work, with the airline dropping the whole route outright.

Chicago Increased Frequency

The second route change is increasing the frequency between Chicago and Addis Ababa. The airline currently runs the route three times a week but will increase to five times a week in summer 2019. The route flies non-stop eastbound but makes a fuel stop (with no pickup, but passengers can get off) in Dublin on the way back to the USA.

Ethiopian Airlines Is Making Huge Advances In The US
The outbound flight to USA needs to stop in Dublin, whilst the return flight is direct.

New Route To Houston

The last major change that we know of at this time is a new service between Addis Ababa and Houston. It is believed that the planes used on the canceled LAX route (Dreamliner) will be moved to here. The route will operate three times a week and will be the only direct flight from Houston to East Africa.

Ethiopian Airlines Is Making Huge Advances In The US
This route may stop in Lome, Togo or it might be direct.

It is also possible that the flight may stop in Lome to refuel (as well as pick up/drop off passengers).

Ethiopian Economy
Ethiopian economy cabin on the B787. Photo: Brussels Airport

It is rumored that more changes are on the way, and we will report them as soon as we know.

Why is Ethiopian changing their routes?

Airlines change their routes all the time, whether to cut out ones that are not profitable, due to political reasons or due to seasonal variance. As for these routes, it’s obvious that the east coast is far more profitable for Ethiopian airlines than a route to the west coast. Why this might be the case is anyones guess, but the airline is adjusting to increasing capacity towards these destinations.

However, there is a rumor that Aer Lingus has slowly been forcing Ethiopian out of the European market. Originally the airline ran unopposed to Los Angeles until Aer Lingus started their own service. Not long after, Fifth Freedom was dropped and Ethiopian was not allowed to pick up passengers. Then they moved the flight to Lome to reinstate this privilege. This does not seem to have been that profitable and perhaps without a proper fifth freedom market to capture, the route is profitless.

What do you think of these route changes? Are they good or bad? Let us know in the comments.