Ethiopian Airlines is adding a brand-new non-stop service between Lomé, Togo, and Washington. It will, of course, begin and end in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian’s new route will begin in just six weeks, with very little advanced notice for any route, let alone long-haul. It will, of course, begin and end in Addis Ababa, the Star Alliance carrier’s hub, although full traffic rights exist between Lomé, the capital of Togo, and Washington.

Operating 3x weekly, Addis Ababa-Lomé-Washington will begin on June 1st. It’ll use 270-seat B787-8s. The schedule is as follows, with all times local:

It’ll supplement the carrier’s existing 1x daily Addis Ababa-Washington service, which operates outbound via Dublin (with a 45-minute tech stop for refueling), mainly using B777-300ERs. It leaves Ethiopia at 22:40 and arrives in Washington at 08:25. It has a block time to the US of 16h 45m; 45 minutes less than via Lomé.

Ethiopian Airlines‘ outbound services need to stop en route to North America to refuel. This is because of Addis Ababa’s high elevation: the airport is 7,657 feet (2,334m) and more than a mile high. Despite long runways, this limits aircraft takeoff performance.

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It seems that Ethiopian was planning to increase Washington service from March 2023, so plans have been brought forward significantly. It was expected to operate via Abidjan, the Côte d’Ivoire capital, some 362 miles (582km) west of Lomé.

Sensibly, it was changed to Lomé, with passengers able to transit over the airport to/from West Africa routes operated by Ethiopian’s partner, ASKY. This is no different from Ethiopian’s existing services from Addis Ababa via Lomé to JFK and Newark.

Passengers can quickly connect in two directions between Washington to multiple destinations over Togo’s capital. Lagos, Accra, Abuja, and Douala are probably the most important.

For example, after arriving from Washington at 11:55, they’d connect to Accra at 14:15. Returning, they’d arrive in Togo at 11:00 and leave for the US at 12:35. It’s no different for its JFK/Newark flights.

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The Washington D.C. metro area has the largest Ethiopian diaspora outside of Ethiopia, totaling over 35,000, although the real figure could be much higher.

As such, there is significant point-to-point passenger traffic, exceeding 80,000 in 2019, booking data indicates. That is much more than on its other North America routes.

In the first week of June, Ethiopian will have 28 weekly (4x daily) departures to North America, as shown below:

Have you ever flown Ethiopian? If so, share your experiences in the comments.
Route Development Analyst – James lives and breathes route development. Educated in Air Transport Management at Loughborough and Cranfield, James was Market Opportunity Analyst at London Luton Airport and Chief Analyst at anna.aero. Now writing data-driven analysis for Simple Flying. Based near London, UK.

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