Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will begin flying between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Manchester, England on December 1. The route will launch months before Britain will officially leave the European Union, and is 45 years after Ethiopian started flying to London Heathrow.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO 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-flavored Ethiopian hospitality.”

Tickets will cost £499 for a return trip. Tickets are available for purchase on Ethiopian Airlines’ website.

Ethiopian will operate the route four times per week. It will use Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in a two class configuration on the route. The route is reportedly an extension of the carrier’s route to Brussels. Gebremariam said that the extension was put in place so that the airline can test the market, and that, if all goes well, direct flights will be added next year.

“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,” said Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport. “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.”

The outbound flight will leave Addis Ababa at 00:45 and arrive in Manchester at 6:55. The return flight will depart Manchester at 19:00 and arrive at Addis Ababa at 6:00 (+1 day). The return flight features a one hour stop in Brussels

Ethiopian Airlines is adding new service between Addis Ababa and Manchester via Brussels. The service will be operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Manchester Airport reports that nearly 400,000 people who live within a two hour drive of Manchester travel to Africa each year. This is Manchester’s first service to Ethiopia and will allow connections to close to five dozen cities across Africa.

Ethiopian is Africa’s largest airline by passenger traffic. Its network includes 67 major global cities and close to 60 African destinations.

Gebremariam says that the route will boost trade, tourism, and investment in both regions. He says that he doesn’t expect Brexit to affect demand.

“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,” Gebremariam said.

“With our extensive operations across Africa, we are pleased to learn about this new flight to Addis Ababa from Manchester Airport, giving us extensive new route options across the continent,” said Alex Marshall, Group Marketing and Compliance Director at Clarke Energy. “The route has the potential to be a massive benefit to our business through journey time savings and the excellent onward connectivity Ethiopian Airlines will provide.”

“Manchester has set a clear target to become a top global city by 2035. If we’re to achieve this aim, it’s vital that we continue to increase our connections with major international hubs, increasing the opportunities for global networks to choose Manchester as a place to visit, meet, invest and study in,” said Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester. “In this respect, this new route with Ethiopian Airlines is a huge step forward.”

This new route emphasizes Manchester’s position as the second hub of the UK. The airport has services to destinations such as Beijing, Houston, San Francisco, Singapore, Muscat, Boston, and Los Angeles.

Featured image by Malcolm Muir/aviationphotographic.com