Manchester Airport has secured a landmark route into the heart of Africa, underlining its pivotal role in connecting the north of England to the world’s most important markets.
Ethiopian Airlines today confirmed it will operate a four-times-a-week service to Addis Ababa, the east African nation’s capital.
The route will unlock connections to more than 58 countries across the African continent.
Ethiopian, which flies to more destinations in Africa than any other carrier, will operate the ultramodern B-787 Dreamliner on the route with business and economy classes.
The service will start on December 1st, initially transiting via Brussels.
It will leave Manchester at 19:00, arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 06:00, providing significant onward connectivity options from the African hub.
On the return it departs Addis Ababa at 00:45 and arrives in Manchester at 06:55.
Manchester Airport chief executive, Andrew Cowan, said: “The introduction of this route underlines the critical role Manchester Airport plays in connecting the people and businesses of the north to the world’s most important markets.
“While we have served a number of African holiday destinations for many years, this service will provide vital connectivity to one of the continent’s most important hub airports.
“That will unlock dozens more destinations across Africa through Ethiopian Airlines’ unrivalled network, meaning the North will be better connected to this part of the world than ever before.”
Ethiopia is Africa’s second largest country by population, with its hub airport perfectly placed to provide onward connectivity, particularly to sub-Saharan countries.
The new route is set to benefit 400,000 people in Manchester Airport’s extensive catchment area, who currently travel to Addis Ababa and other key cities across Africa via other means.
The new service has therefore been heralded by Northern businesses and organisations, with the route saving travel time and unlocking vital economic, trade and investment opportunities.
Ethiopian Airlines was founded in 1945 and from its hub in Addis Ababa has connections to 58 cities across Africa, and a further 67 international routes across Europe, Asia and the Americas.
The multi award-winning airline offers passengers an excellent on-board service including meals, beverage and inflight entertainment.
Ethiopian Airlines chief executive, Tewolde Gebremariam, said: ““We are elated to start services to Manchester, our second destination in the UK next to London Heathrow which we have been serving since 1973.
“As the leading African carrier with the widest network in the continent, passengers from Manchester will enjoy convenient and seamless connectivity options to 58 African destinations operated with cutting-edge fleet like the B-787 and A350 which offer our passengers unparalleled comfort on-board our flights, along with our African flavoured Ethiopian hospitality.”
He added: “The socio-economic implication of the new flight is immense.
“With vast investment and trade potentials between Africa and the UK, the upcoming flight holds the promise of boosting trade, investment and tourism with ample business opportunities for investors and business people from both regions.”