Picture: Manchester Airport.

LONDON — It was announced on May 14th that Addis Ababa-based carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, will launch a new four times weekly service between Addis Ababa and Manchester Airport, in the northwest parts of the UK.

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Up to 400,000 people will benefit from this new route and will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. This will be the second UK destination that the carrier will be operating to, after having a long-standing relationship with Heathrow since the mid-1970s.

Manchester Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan, shared: 

“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 of more destinations across Africa through Ethiopian Airlines’ unrivaled network, meaning the North will be better connected to this part of the world than ever before.”

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Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, stated: 

“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 a cutting-edge fleet like the B-787 and A350 which offer our passengers unparalleled comfort onboard our flights, along with our Africanflavoredd Ethiopian hospitality. 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.”

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The service is due to start from December 1st, 2018. The flight will leave Manchester Airport at 19:00, arriving at Addis Ababa at 6:00. The flight will transit via Brussels. Meanwhile, the return flight will depart Addis Ababa at 00:45, landing at Manchester at 06:55 local time (all times local).

This route will connect fliers onwards to 58 different destinations across the African continent, which will boost tourism links between the West and parts of Africa.

In terms of configuration onboard the aircraft, it will be arranged with a 2-class setup. There will be 24 seats in the airline’s Cloud 9 Business Class which will be in a 2-2-2 configuration, which will offer up to 170 degrees of reclination for when fliers wish to sleep during the flight. Economy class will have 246 seats onboard, offering a 3-3-3 configuration and up to 33 inches worth of seat pitch.

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This route will be added to the set of successive destinations that the airport has secured in recent years, with routes such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Houston, Muscat, Singapore & San Francisco being among the list of international links that the Ringway-based airport has in their portfolio.

It could be argued that this route opening is a result of the expansion plan that Manchester Airport is currently implementing across the airport, with the expansion of their terminals for additional capacity.