Africa: Ethiopian Airlines’ network soars to 129 destinations in 75 countries

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Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines has increased it route network as it now serves 129 destinations across 75 countries from Addis Ababa in winter 2019.

According to, China is its leading country by total seats, as a result of the estimated 2.5 million passengers between China and Africa. Ethiopian serves Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shanghai Pudong on a passenger basis. Rather differently than at present, the airline is now interested in connecting Europe with Asia via Addis Ababa.

107 international destinations, with 120 targeted by 2025
One-stops and routings such as Addis Ababa – Harare – Lusaka – Addis Ababa are of key importance, with 61 of the carrier’s total destinations involving them – at least partly. In all, Ethiopian Airlines’ network is broken down as follows, with 107 international destinations served as it moves towards its target of 120 by 2025.

US now leads by number of airports per country
Europe has grown the most on a percentage basis, but from a low base. Since winter 2015, Ethiopian has added seven destinations there, including Geneva, Manchester, and Moscow. Last year came Athens, Istanbul, and Marseille. Other new routes in 2019 included Bangalore, Port Harcourt (Nigeria), and Garowe (Somaliland). Chennai starts this April and will operate three-weekly by the B787-8. It’ll be Ethiopian’s fourth passenger destination in India; the battle between the two Asian powerhouses for the airline’s top country hots up. The US leads by airports per country, with five: Chicago ORD, Houston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington IAD.

All about Africa
Obviously, it is Ethiopian’s strong African network that it revolves around and that it sells to the world. Its waves as its Addis Ababa hub, which will be explored another time, are very strongly coordinated to maximise connectivity.

Its 39 African countries are primarily in the East, Central, South, and West of the continent. The countries it doesn’t serve are mainly in North Africa (e.g., Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco), where it has an exceptionally small presence – it serves as many cities in South America as North Africa – and smaller countries in West Africa (e.g., Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Mauritania). Distance, market size, geographic location, and lack of beyond/behind demand are key reasons for this. Internationally, Nigeria has its most African destinations: Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt. (Kaduna was served three-weekly in 2018 but ended after nine months.)

In Africa, Nairobi leads by seats and Entebbe by frequencies
Excluding domestic services, Ethiopian’s top-10 destinations by weekly total seats are below. Dubai leads as a result of its thrice-daily service, two of which are by widebodies. Of the six African airports, all are major cities or located close to Ethiopia or both. Not surprisingly, most – Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, and Khartoum – are in countries bordering Ethiopia. When weekly frequencies are considered, Entebbe leads, followed by Nairobi, Asmara (Eritrea), Dubai, and Juba (South Sudan). Djibouti and Hargeisa (Somaliland) are also near the top, again emphasising the significance of bordering countries.

Also, Ethiopian Airlines recently launched 3 weekly flights to Houston in December 2019.

According to, Ethiopian Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, made this known 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 operated from Addis Ababa via Lome in Togo with Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

“Early in 2019, we announced that we were changing our services to the United States.

“Service to Los Angeles terminates in favour of a new thrice-weekly service from Addis Ababa to Houston via Lome, Togo,” he said in a statement.

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