Ethiopian Airlines last week announced a new flight from Africa to the US, in direct connections that are now gathering pace with the prospect of reducing transcontinental freight charges.
Ethiopian Airlines, which already flies to Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles, will, from June 2018, additionally be flying from Addis Ababa to Chicago, stopping over in Dublin.
“Chicago is the third biggest city in the US and a critical global aviation hub. It will now become our fourth direct-flight destination in the US and through it we will be filling a gap in the link between Chicago and Africa. It will enhance the economic relations between US and Africa and enable better trade associations, investments and promote tourism,” said Tewolde Gebre Mariam, Ethiopian Airlines CEO.
A direct flight has no change in flight numbers, but includes stops at an intermediate while a nonstop has no stop on the journey.
South African Airlines now runs direct flights from Johannesburg to Washington DC and New York. From West Africa, Cape Verde Airline now flies directly from Paia to Boston.
In North Africa, Egypt Air now offers a direct flight from Cairo to New York, while Royal Air Maroc (Morocco) flies from Casablanca to New York.
In East Africa, only Ethiopian Airlines has connected directly to the US, but with the launch of its now fourth direct flight, and the announcement by Kenya Airways
of direct flights from Nairobi to New York from October 2018, the region is now moving to become more directly connected than any other region of Africa.
For freight customers this offers the hope of significantly cheaper transit for goods travelling to the US market. “Cargo rates are determined by many factors and competition is extremely high among carriers,” said Maarten Klinjstra, general manager, Siginon Aviation.
Freight plying the US route via a connecting flight via Europe or the UAE also has to pay foreign taxes through their air tickets for the destination.
– African LaughterAn Ethiopian Airlines plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG