Ethiopian Airlines Prepares for South American Debut

East African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has finalised the last of its preparation work for its first growth into South America and is now on-track to inaugurate flights between its hub at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.  The new route will be operated via the carrier’s second hub in Lomé, Togo and will serve the two Brazilian cities on a three times weekly basis from July 1, 2013. It will be the only direct connection between West Africa and Brazil and will be flown using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, having originally been scheduled to be operated using a Boeing 767-300ER.

Air travel demand between Africa and Brazil is growing.  In 2012, an estimated 390,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on this route, which although a small decline on the numbers reported the previous year, represent a 64.1 per cent increase on the traffic levels from five years ago. 

Brazil has one of the fastest growing economies and is now the fifth largest in the world. São Paulo is the biggest city in the country and the southern hemisphere. It is the economic and financial hub of the country, hosting the headquarters of numerous major corporations. Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro, its second largest city, is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural beauty, beaches and carnivals. It is also home to the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

“We are very pleased to announce to our customers that Ethiopian will soon spread its wings to South America.  The China-India-Africa-Brazil trade lane is the fastest growing in the world.  Our new Brazil flights will provide efficient connections with 28 weekly flights to four destinations in China, 14 weekly flights to the two major cities in India, daily flights to Lebanon, five weekly flights to Tel Aviv and almost daily flights to 45 cities across Africa.”

Tewolde Gebremariam
Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines

“We are very pleased to announce to our customers that Ethiopian will soon spread its wings to South America.  The China-India-Africa-Brazil trade lane is the fastest growing in the world.  Our new Brazil flights will provide efficient connections with 28 weekly flights to four destinations in China, 14 weekly flights to the two major cities in India, daily flights to Lebanon, five weekly flights to Tel Aviv and almost daily flights to 45 cities across Africa.  Our customers on this new route will also enjoy the unique cabin products and features of the global technology leader aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner.” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines.

“The start of our operations will greatly facilitate people-to-people interactions between Brazil and the rest of the world. The various communities throughout the world with strong ties to Brazil will be able to enjoy smooth and convenient connections”, he added.

The connection opportunities offered by Ethiopian Airlines from East Africa and its sister carrier, ASKY, in West Africa will play an important role in the long-term sustainability of this route given only a small O&D demand between the two African markets and Brazil.  The two airlines are co-ordinating their schedules to give short, seamless and convenient connections to West Africa, via ASKY, and into local and intercontinental markets via Ethiopian’s network from Addis Ababa.

Alongside this new Ethiopian Airlines link, there are currently three other airlines offering direct flights to Brazil from Africa.  TAAG Angola is the largest operator in this market with flights from Luanda to both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, while South African Airways (SAA) has flights between Johannesburg and São Paulo.  TACV Cabo Verde Airlines also offers flights between Fortaleza and Praia and Sal in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago.

In the table below we highlight the largest O&D passenger flows between Africa and Brazil during 2012.  The markets served by TAAG Angola, SAA and TACV dominate the analysis although there are also notable flows from Cape Town, Cairo and Maputo.  Interestingly, mainly due to the limited connectivity within Africa, approximately a sixth of all passengers in this market connect with airlines from outside of the continent, the largest flows being with Air France (5.1 per cent of the total market), Emirates Airline (2.2 per cent), Iberia (1.7 per cent) and TAP Portugal (1.6 per cent).

ESTIMATED AIR DEMAND BETWEEN BRAZIL AND AFRICA (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012)

Rank

African Market

Estimated Passengers

% Total Demand

% Change (2011)

1

Luanda Quatro de Fevereiro (LAD)

149,047

38.3 %

(-19.1) %

2

Johannesburg OR Tambo International (JNB)

61,174

15.7 %

2.6 %

3

Cape Town International (CPT)

29,349

7.5 %

21.5 %

4

Praia International (RAI)

22,142

5.7 %

158.8 %

5

Cairo International (CAI)

16,101

4.1 %

(-16.8) %

6

Maputo International (MPM)

14,500

3.7 %

(-14.3) %

7

Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International (MRU)

5,627

1.4 %

69.2 %

8

Casablanca Mohamed V International (CMN)

5,333

1.4 %

15.3 %

9

Conakry (CKY)

4,770

1.2 %

(-1.2) %

10

Brazzaville Maya Maya (BZV)

4,710

1.2 %

6.8 %

TOTAL

389,567

-

(-5.8) %

Share this article

Download Spotlight on Ecuador

How returning confidence and investment have primed Ecuador's aviation market for growth.

Download White Paper

Comments