Beginning October 31, Ethiopian Airlines will operate thrice-weekly service from its Bole Addis Ababa International Airport hub to Kuala Lumpur. The service announcement comes on the heels of Ethiopian’s August 12 acquisition of its first of 10 Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners.
In a press release, Ethiopian Airlines said the new route will connect Kuala Lumpur to dozens of African destinations, including Johannesburg; Nairobi; Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; Entebbe, Uganda; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Khartoum, Sudan. Such accessibility was previously limited, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam explained.
“As the fastest-growing airline in Africa, Ethiopian is pleased to be the first East African carrier to fly to Kuala Lumpur, connecting Africa to the Asia region and in turn strengthening the tourism and trade ties between the peoples of Africa and Asia,” Gebremariam said in a statement.
In addition to route expansion, fleet renewal is also on Ethiopian Airlines’ radar. The carrier recently became the first non-Japanese airline to operate the 787-800 and will acquire four additional Dreamliners by the end of fiscal-year 2012. According to the press release, Ethiopian Airlines will take delivery of its second 787-800 in mid-September and will deploy the aircraft on its Washington Dulles International Airport route.
Ethiopian Airlines also plans to grow its fleet with Boeing 777-200LR aircraft and ordered an additional 777-200LR to join its five-aircraft-strong fleet in July. Gebremariam explained that the decision to invest in the 777-200LR, which adds significant cargo capacity to Ethiopian’s fleet, was strategic.
“The performance and range of the airplane allowed us to open direct routes from Washington D.C to Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa to Beijing, Toronto to Addis Ababa, as well as other long-range routes,” he said in a statement. “In line with our ‘Vision 2025’ [goal], we plan to provide more and more non-stop long-haul flights to connect east, west, north and south, using the strategic location of our Addis Ababa hub.”