The management of Ethiopian Airlines says it will begin three weekly flights to Houston, Texas, by Dec. 16.
Ethiopian Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, made this known on Saturday in Lagos.
GebreMariam said that the routes would allow passengers to fly nonstop on Ethiopian Airlines from Houston to Africa.
According to him, Ethiopian’s service to Houston will operate from Addis Ababa via Lome in Togo with Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
“Ethiopian Airlines will be launching new flights to Houston onboard Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
“Early in 2019, we announced that we were changing our services to the United States.
“Service to Los Angeles will terminate in favour of a new thrice-weekly service from Addis Ababa to Houston via Lome, Togo,” he said in a statement.
The Ethiopian Airlines chief said that the U.S was among Ethiopian Airlines’ most important markets, owing to the presence of a large African community and growing business and tourism ties with Africa.
“Our new route structure with additional frequencies to multiple gateways and the opening of new route to Houston are aimed at responding to the market demand and availing best possible connectivity to over 60 African destinations.
“The service will depart Addis Ababa on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Houston departures are on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
“The flight will depart Addis Ababa at 21:30. After a stop in Lome and a long transatlantic flight, the aircraft will touch down in Houston at 8:40a.m the next day.
“Ethiopian’s aircraft will depart Houston at 11:00a.m and finally arrive in Addis Ababa the next day at 14:30,” he said.
GebreMariam said Houston was chosen because Ethiopian Airlines does not face much competition from Houston to Africa.
”In fact, the airline will be the only carrier to offer flights from Houston to Africa.
“Economically speaking, Houston is an oil and business hub. Thus, there is a significant potential for business connectivity that Ethiopian Airlines is trying to gain access to.
“Business and leisure travellers alike will have only one nonstop option to Africa from Houston.
“Addis Ababa is at a high altitude. Thus, the aerodynamics concerning take off is not favourable for launching nonstop service to the United States.
”In fact, Ethiopian Airlines flies several one-stops from Addis Ababa to the United States and other destinations in part due to this problem.
“However, instead of operating nonstop in the eastbound, Ethiopian Airlines can route via Lome and offer additional connections there through ASKY airlines- with whom Ethiopian Airlines partners,” he said.
GebreMariam said Ethiopian Airlines keeps on growing, adding that with this new flight, Africa’s largest carrier would offer new connections both to and from the U.S.
He described Africa as a unique and growing aviation market with incredible potential.