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Ethiopian Airlines is to extend its existing flights into Scandinavia to also serve the Norwegian capital, Oslo, from next summer as it seeks to continue its Ethiopian Vision 2025 of connecting Africa with the major world economic and financial hubs. The five times weekly link from its Addis Ababa hub will operate via Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport from March 26, 2017 using a two-class, 270-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner equipment.
This will be the first regular link from an African air carrier between Norway and continental Africa and follows a number of positive meetings between Avinor and Ethiopian Airlines in which both parties have shown an eagerness to deliver this connectivity, according to Øyvind Hasaas, managing director of Oslo Airport.
“We are also delighted to see that the investments made to develop Oslo Airport are now bearing fruit,” he said. “Norway now has a route to the best connected airport in Africa in terms of transfers to other African destinations. This ensures great opportunities for Norwegian tourists as well as Norwegian businesses and freight.”
Air links between Norway and Africa are currently limited to Norwegian flights to Agadir and Marrakech and Air Cairo charter flights to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh which mainly serve the tourist markets in and out of popular leisure markets across North Africa.
“With Africa’s economic boom and its growing trade, investment, business and tourism ties with Europe in general and Norway in particular, Ethiopian is pleased to provide the essential air connectivity that will serve as the engine for the continued growth of these relations,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive officer, Ethiopian Airlines Group.
This new Ethiopian Airlines link will open up new connectivity options across the whole of Africa as well as supporting Star Alliance feed into the Nordic and Scandinavian markets and into Central and Eastern Europe.
“In addition to serving the growing travel needs between Oslo and Africa, we will be able to offer efficient connections between Africa and Central/Eastern Europe in cooperation with our Star Alliance partners,” confirmed GebreMariam.
Ethiopian Airlines has served the Stockholm market for many years but currently operates flights via intermediate stops in other parts of Europe, namely Rome and Vienna. The revised schedule will not just deliver the new Nordic connection but significantly enhance its activities in Scandinavia by bringing the return of non-stop flights between Stockholm and its Bole International Airport hub in Addis Ababa.
“We are pleased that Ethiopian Airlines has chosen to make Stockholm Arlanda its direct destination in Scandinavia. The traffic to Africa via Addis Ababa from Stockholm has grown sharply over the past three years, by a total of as much as 130 per cent. More than half of the passengers on this route are Swedish leisure travellers, who will now have a smoother journey to African destinations with just one stopover,” said Elizabeth Axtelius, director of aviation business at Swedavia.
In the last year more than 300 PPDEW (passengers per-day each-way) are estimated to have flown between Norway and destinations across Africa, with the strongest flows into East Africa. The data from AirVision Market Intelligence from Sabre Airline Solutions for the 12 months ending October 2016 shows that over 80,000 passengers flew in and out of east Africa, with flows of more than 40,000 annual passengers in and out of southern Africa, more than 20,000 in and out of west Africa and around 16,000 in and out of central Africa.