Ethiopian Airlines To Add Atlanta Route, Eyes Delta Codeshare

The Addis Ababa-based carrier is also significantly restoring its China network.

Credit: Joe Pries

Ethiopian Airlines will increase its presence in the US with a new Atlanta (ATL) service to be launched in May.

From May 16, Ethiopian will fly 4X-weekly from its Addis Ababa (ADD) base to ATL using Boeing 787-9s, with the aircraft stopping in Dublin (DUB) for refueling on the westbound ADD-to-ATL leg.

Ethiopian is a Star Alliance member, but Atlanta–home to SkyTeam’s Delta Air Lines–is not a Star Alliance hub. A source from Ethiopian Airlines told Aviation Week Network on Jan. 13 that the carrier is working on reaching a codeshare agreement with Delta. 

Addis Ababa-Atlanta O&D traffic was 15,961 two-way passengers in 2019 (according to Sabre data), all indirect via a different hub. 

ATL becomes Ethiopian’s sixth destination in North America besides Chicago O'Hare (ORD), New York Kennedy (JFK), Newark (EWR), Toronto (YYZ) and Washington Dulles (IAD).

Meanwhile, Ethiopian also announced a major restoration of its China network and resumed flights to Singapore (SIN).

“We plan to open new destinations in the US, Canada, Europe and of course Africa and some parts of Asia,” Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew told Aviation Week Network recently. 

In the coming weeks, Ethiopian will restore frequencies to China to near-pre-pandemic levels following the recent easing of that country’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. “Before COVID, we had 35 flights a week to five different destinations in China,” Tasew said. “Our expectation was to see China fully open during the first half of 2023. China remains a big market for us.”

From Feb. 6, ADD-Guangzhou (CAN) service will become daily, rising up to 10X-weekly from March 1. Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) service will be operated 4X-weekly from next month and become daily from March 1. Four times-weekly flights from ADD to Chengdu will bring Ethiopian’s China frequencies to 28X-weekly by March. 

Ethiopian additionally will resume flights to SIN from March 25. The ADD-SIN route will be operated 4X-weekly using Boeing 787s. The ADD-SIN leg will continue on to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) after a short stop in Singapore before returning to ADD.