Ethiopian Airlines launches Manchester route

14 Dec 2018

On 11th December Ethiopian Airlines’ launched its inaugural flight to Manchester, which is set to benefit more than 400,000 people across the North of the UK who access Africa via other means.

This new landmark route, a four times a week service, will connect the North to the heart of Africa and unlock more than 60 connections in Africa and beyond. It is currently the region’s only direct links to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework, together with Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Ababi Demissie, and Head of Diaspora Affairs, Mr Fekadu Beyene, attended the launch at Manchester Airport, the UK’s third largest airport.  Other guests included the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, Jeremy Lefroy MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia, Ethiopia-born Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Lemn Sissay, the CEO and COO of Manchester Airport, as well as hundreds of guests from across the region.

Kicking off celebrations was award-winning dance troupe, DanKira, giving guests a taste of Ethiopia with a colourful cultural performance representing the different nations and nationalities of the country.

Speaking at the launch, Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Manchester Airport, said: “This absolutely strengthens our position to open up those long-haul routes that Manchester, maybe in the past, wasn’t traditionally associated with.

“We’ve worked really hard and strategically to secure some of those long-haul routes, this is the only direct connection to Sub-Saharan Africa from the north, so it’s fantastic for us and our customers.

“We know that there are about 400,000 passengers in our catchment area who currently travel to Addis Ababa and they don’t go through Manchester, they are spending more money and time to get there, so this is a vital connection for those passengers.”

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam presents a gift to Manchester Airport COO, Tricia Williams.

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said:

“We are elated to start our service 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 on the continent, passengers from Manchester will enjoy convenient and seamless connectivity options to 60 African destinations operated with a cutting-edge fleet with the B-787 and A350 which offer our passengers unparalleled comfort on-board our flights, along with our African flavoured Ethiopian hospitality.

“The socio-economic implication of the new flight is immense. With vast investment and trade potential 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.”

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Hailemichael commended Ethiopian Airlines on its latest achievement and said he hopes the new Manchester to Addis Ababa route will contribute to the strengthening of the century-old Ethio-UK relations. He also encouraged guests to visit Ethiopia to discover what the country has to offer, be it trade or tourism.

Ambassador Hailemichael with Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam

“This is, in very many ways, a very important achievement. The UK is a very important development partner. A number of British companies are already investing in Ethiopia in many sectors, and that is growing…our bilateral and political relations are also growing. I hope that Ethiopian flying into Manchester will contribute to the strengthening of our relations…Ethiopian Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world as Ethiopia is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. And I hope Ethiopian Airlines serving this part of the UK will contribute to strengthening trade and investment…Ethiopia has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, its natural beauty and scenery, the cultures, the people, the history of the country, I am sure you will benefit from visiting Ethiopia.”

The new service has been welcomed by Northern businesses and organisations who will benefit from reduced journey times, unlocking vital economic, trade and investment opportunities.

The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia, Jeremy Lefroy MP said:

“Ethiopia is a key partner as we look to expand our trading relationship with the wider African continent. This new flight route from Ethiopian Airlines will allow UK companies to build strong ties with their Ethiopian counterparts, increasing the accessibility and affordability of doing business for businesses in both countries.

“The Department for International Trade has a range of support available to businesses looking to make the most of the new flight route. Support includes finance through our award-winning export credit agency, UK Export Finance, and market advice from our in-country HM Trade Commissioner, Emma Wade-Smith.”

Speaking on the side-lines of the launch, Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Lemn Sissay, said:

“I have a very personal connection with Ethiopia and, through my work as Chancellor, the University of Manchester now offers scholarships to Ethiopian students with a desire to come and study in the UK. Having a direct Manchester-Addis Ababa flight route will open up these opportunities even further and that is something to be celebrated.”

“To be considered a truly global city Manchester needs to be open to the world, especially Africa, and this is a massive step forward in that regard. Both from a cultural and economic perspective, unlocking the doors to Ethiopia is another way for Manchester to embrace its place on the international stage.”

As part of the inaugural celebration, guests were also treated to a two-hour flight around the British Isles where they got to experience Ethiopian Airlines’ onboard services and hospitality, which included Ethiopian food.

A launch ceremony was also held in Addis Ababa in the presence of H.E. Mrs Susanna Moorehead, Ambassador of the UK to Ethiopia, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, dignitaries and invited guests.

Launch ceremony in Addis Ababa

Speaking at the inaugural event, H.E. Mrs Susanna Moorehead, said, “I would think of Ethiopian Airlines as a symbol of Ethiopia. It’s global; it’s growing; connecting people; it’s supremely professional, modern; it’s forward-looking, it’s young and it’s dynamic. I am fortunate enough to be the British ambassador to Ethiopia. The inaugural flight to Manchester is a strong symbol of the depth and breadth of the relations between Ethiopia and the UK.”

The airline flies to more destinations in Africa than any other carrier. The service to Addis Ababa will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and will depart from Manchester Terminal Two at 18:05, arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 06:45, providing significant onward connectivity options to Africa. Return flights depart Addis Ababa at 00:45 and arrive in to Manchester at 07:20 and have been scheduled to provide convenient connectivity with flights from the African continent in to Addis Ababa.

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