The airline will offer direct flights three times per week to West Africa, though the exact location has yet to be determined, per the Houston Airport System’s press release. Ethiopian Airlines cited the Houston area’s African community and its companies — oil-related and otherwise — doing business in Africa as factors in the decision to add IAH flights.
The new offering also is thanks to Ethiopian Airlines restructuring its U.S. routes, with the Houston flights replacing current routes to Los Angeles. The company is also increasing its flights to Chicago, New York/Newark and Washington, D.C., per the release. Tewolde GebreMariam, group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said in the release that the company plans to continue expanding its U.S. and African network as part of its Vision 2025 strategy.
“The U.S. is among our most important markets owing to the presence of a large African community and growing business and tourism ties with Africa,” GebreMariam said in the release. “Our new route structure with additional frequencies to multiple gateways and the opening of new route to Houston are aimed at responding to the market demand and availing best possible connectivity to over 60 African destinations.”
The new Houston route is particularly noteworthy for IAH because it means the airport once again will offer direct flights to all six inhabited continents. A charter flight between IAH and Angola — the only direct passenger route between Houston and Africa at the time — ended last spring.
Now, Ethiopian Airlines will become the 21st foreign carrier with passenger flights at IAH, per the release.
“Finding the right partner and strengthening our connection with Africa was one of our primary goals in continuing the growth in international travel to the Houston market, and we are excited to partner with Ethiopian Airlines to make that happen,” Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz said in the release.
*Source Houston Business Journal