Manchester Airport delivers more global connectivity for the North as route to Ethiopia takes off

Route will benefit 400,000 people across the North who access Africa via other means

  • Inaugural flight between Manchester and Addis Ababa takes off today with Ethiopian Airlines
  • Four weekly service which opens up more than 60 connections across Africa for passengers
  • Ethiopian Airlines will use a state of the art B787 Dreamliner on the route with business and economy classes
  • Praise from businesses across the North who say they’re set to benefit from the new route, which is welcomed by Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy
  • Flight set to take off 100% full and comes as Manchester Airport reports 7% growth in passenger numbers in November

A landmark route into the heart of Africa will take off this evening, underlining Manchester Airport’s pivotal role in connecting the North to the world’s most important markets.

Ethiopian Airlines’ inaugural flight to Addis Ababa will leave the UK’s third largest airport 100% full and will unlock more than 60 connections across Africa.

The four times a week service is set to benefit 400,000 people across the North who currently access Africa via other means. A celebration to mark the first flight today was attended by Jeremy Lefroy MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia as well as hundreds of guests from across the region.

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.

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 advise from our in-country HM Trade Commissioner, Emma Wade-Smith.”

Ethiopian Airlines, which flies to more destinations in Africa than any other carrier, will operate the ultramodern B-787 Dreamliner on the route with business and economy classes. The service to Addis Ababa will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The route opens up 60 seamless connections across Africa including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said:

“We’re delighted to have Ethiopian Airlines launching its service to Addis Ababa today.

“It will provide a vital route into Africa for businesses across the North, as well as helping attract visitors and potential investors to the region.

“This route highlights the important role Manchester Airport continues to play in connecting the North with key global markets.

“I want to take this opportunity to welcome Ethiopian Airlines to Manchester and look forward to working with them to ensure the success of this flagship service.”

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 in the continent, passengers from Manchester will enjoy convenient and seamless connectivity options to 60 African destinations operated with cutting-edge fleet like the B-787 and A350 which offer our passengers unparalleled comfort on-board our flights, along with our African flavored Ethiopian hospitality.

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

The flight will depart from Terminal Two at 18:05, arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 06:45, providing significant onward connectivity options to the African continent. 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.

Mick Bonney, Director of Sales and Business Development, for EDM Limited, said:

“Since delivering a comprehensive suite of cabin crew training equipment in 2016 EDM continue to support Ethiopian Airlines as they continue to move towards being the most competitive, leading aviation training centre in Africa. Ethiopian Airlines’ new Aviation Academy sets a highly impressive new standard in the provision of aviation training and we were privileged to play a part in this fine accomplishment.”

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.”

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:

“Inbound tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and we want to provide a world-class experience to the millions of visitors who travel here every year, more than 70% of whom arrive by air.

“Growing airline connectivity, route development and seat capacity into key regional gateways such as Manchester are crucial to our competitive tourism offer, with the new Ethiopian Airlines flights making it easier for visitors to travel here, explore further and stay longer, boosting the economy.”

Ethiopian Airlines was founded in 1945 and the multi award-winning airline offers passengers an excellent on-board service including meals, beverage and inflight entertainment. Business class passengers are served a variety of dishes including Ethiopian cuisine along with a selection of appetizers and beverages. A rich inflight entertainment which comprises of wide ranging audio and video contents as well as games is also available for passengers to enjoy while flying. In economy, passengers are treated to different meals and beverages along with inflight the entertainment package.

The route launch comes after a strong month of growth for the UK’s third largest Airport. A new service to Mumbai started as the airport welcomed more than 1.85m passengers through its three terminals in November – an increase of 7% year on year.

Return economy fares start from £499 with business class at £1,999.

For more information see: www.ethiopianairlines.com / www.manchesterairport.co.uk

Supportive Quotes:

Mandy Lockett MIEx, International Business Director, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The launch by Ethiopian Airways of this key route between Manchester and Addis Ababa will be a huge boost to the north west’s thriving business community not just in terms of transporting passengers and cargo quickly and efficiently but will also further strengthen the strong ties between Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa and the region.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester said:

“This new route connecting Manchester with Addis Ababa is a great success for Greater Manchester and for the wider North of England. This will open up Greater Manchester to visitors, businesses investors and students from a new continent and the many rapid-growth markets within it.

“Greater Manchester’s growth strategy has internationalisation at its heart, and Manchester has set a clear target to become a top global city by 2035. If we’re to achieve this aim, it’s vital that we continue to increase and diversify our connections with major hubs around the world, increasing the opportunities for global networks to choose Manchester as a place to visit, meet, invest and study in.

“In this respect, this new route with Ethiopian Airlines is a huge step forward and a welcome addition to the network.”

Project Harar

“Our charity is delighted that Ethiopian Airlines will start operating a flight from Manchester Airport to Addis Ababa”, said Mimi St John-Austen, Executive Director of Project Harar, a charity that provides access to surgery, in Ethiopia, for children and young people with cleft lip and palate and other facial disfigurements.

Mimi continued “Every year, we recruit a medical team of around 30 surgeons, doctors and nurses, mostly from the NHS, who fly out to Addis to operate on some of the most marginalised people in Ethiopia with severe facial disfigurements. In the past, our medics from the north had to travel to London to fly out. With the new Ethiopian Airlines flight from Manchester, they will have a flight on their doorstep”.

One of our longstanding nurses, Anne McNicholas, who lives in Rochdale, will be taking the inaugural flight from Manchester to Addis on Tuesday. She said, “I’m so pleased that the new Ethiopian Airlines flight from Manchester has started. It will save time and money and help ensure that my colleagues and I from the north, arrive feeling energetic and ready to take on the challenges of the surgical mission”.