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    Saturday, February 10, 2024

    Ethiopian Airlines Adds 2 New Destinations

    As everyone knows, Ethiopian is by far Africa's largest carrier. This is the case in many respects, including its African network. The addition of Freetown and Maun follows the relaunch of Bangui, Central African Republic, in November 2023. It returned after an 11-year absence.

    Freetown is coming

    Beginning on May 31, Ethiopian will fly thrice weekly from its ever-busier Addis Ababa hub to Freetown, the first time it has served the airport. Using the 270-seat Boeing 787-8, its smallest and most popular widebody, it will operate in both directions via Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital.

    The schedule is as follows, with all times local. Ethiopian does not have fifth freedom traffic rights between Ouagadougou and Freetown, although it is interesting to note that Turkish Airlines does. Including ground time, it will take Ethiopian 9h 30m to reach Sierra Leone.

    • Addis Ababa to Ouagadougou: ET943, 10:50-13:50 (6h)
    • Ouaga to Freetown: ET943, 14:50-17:20 (2h 30m)
    • Freetown to Ouaga: ET942, 08:35-10:50 (2h 15m)
    • Ouaga to Addis: ET942, 11:50-20:50 (6h)

    Notice that it will arrive in Sierra Leone at 17:20, with aircraft and crew remaining overnight, similar to some other far West African markets. This is for one reason: to arrive back in Addis Ababa in the middle of the evening.

    This enables passengers and freight to connect to Ethiopian's huge departure bank of flights to Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia. In Freetown's case, booking data suggests that such places had about 170,000 roundtrip passengers in the past year (466 daily).

    Maun is also coming

    The Botswana city of Maun is the country’s tourist capital and among the most populated cities. Ethiopian will lift off for Maun on June 10. Like many of the carrier’s routes, as illustrated in the map above, it will operate triangularly, tagged with Ndola, Zambia.

    Unlike Freetown, Maun flights will use the 160-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8. It is scheduled as follows, with all times local:

    • Addis to Maun: ET833, 08:30-12:40 (5h 10m)
    • Maun to Ndola: ET833, 13:30-15:30 (2h 00m)
    • Ndola to Addis: ET833, 16:20-21:25 (4h 5m)

    Analysis of booking data shows that nearly all of Maun’s long-haul demand comes from Europe, especially London, Frankfurt, Zurich (which joined Ethiopian’s network in 2022), Paris, and Amsterdam. Ethiopian serves all except Amsterdam, although the carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer told me in November that Amsterdam would return. It was last served via Frankfurt in 2007.

    Using OAG to examine Ethiopian's international African network shows that these cities have been removed: Berbera (Somalia); Durban (South Africa); Kisangani (Democratic Republic of the Congo); Kaduna (Nigeria); Malakal (South Sudan); Mbuji Mayi (DRC); Monrovia (Liberia); and Port Harcourt (Nigeria; seemingly only served due to Enugu's runway works).

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