ROUTES AFRICA: Ethiopian Airlines adds Madrid to European Network

The Spanish capital city will be linked to its Addis Ababa Bole International Airport hub through Rome using a Boeing 767-300ER and will increase Ethiopian’s international network to 83 destinations covering five continents.

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has finalised preparations to start a three times weekly service to Madrid, Spain starting from September 2, 2014. The Spanish capital city will be linked to its Addis Ababa Bole International Airport hub through Rome using a Boeing 767-300ER and will increase Ethiopian’s international network to 83 destinations covering five continents.

"We are very pleased to announce to our esteemed customers that Ethiopian will start services to Madrid, bringing the number of our European destinations to ten. The continued expansion of our network in Europe will enable our customers to enjoy wider choice of connectivity options when travelling between Europe and Africa,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive officer, Ethiopian Airlines.

“Spain is a major tourist originating and destination country. Our new route to Madrid will create opportunities for further strengthening the investment, trade, and tourism ties between Spain and 49 destinations in Africa with convenient and seamless connection through our main hub in Addis Ababa,” he added.

Air traffic demand is relatively small between Ethiopia and Spain, due in part to the lack of direct flights between the countries, but it is a growing market with rises being reported in the past two years. According to MIDT data an estimated 10,000 O&D passengers flew between Ethiopia and Spain in 2013, up 4.9 per cent on 2012 with the largest flows being via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and via Germany’s hub airports with Lufthansa. Ethiopian Airlines had a 12.5 per cent share of this demand last year.

The East African carrier has recently been recognised as the largest African carrier by revenue and profit, according to the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) latest airline rankings which were published in the 58th edition of World Air Transport Statistics (WATS). With revenue topping $2.3 billion in 2013, this is the first time Ethiopian Airlines has achieved such a ranking in its 69-year operating history.

According to IATA, Ethiopian now ranks first in Africa and 37th in the world in terms of revenue and first in Africa and 18th in the world in terms of operating profit. The rise of the carrier is a testimony to its 15 year strategic roadmap of fast, profitable and sustainable growth, Vision 2025.

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