Ethiopian Airlines Cancels Los Angeles, Adds Houston

Filed Under: Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines has just announced some significant changes to their US route network for their summer 2019 schedule. The airline hasn’t yet fully updated the schedule, but should in the coming days and weeks, at which point we’ll know all the details.

Here’s what’s changing:

Ethiopian Airlines increasing flights to Washington

Ethiopian Airlines will be increasing flights to Washington Dulles as of summer 2019. The airline will fly to Washington Dulles 10x weekly rather than daily, making it their only US destination with more than one daily flight.

Currently the airline flies from Addis Ababa to Dublin to Washington Dulles westbound, and eastbound flies from Washington Dulles to Addis Ababa. The stop in Dublin is strictly for refueling.

The three additional weekly flights will pass through Abidjan in both directions, and they’ll have pick-up rights there.

Ethiopian Airlines increasing flights to Chicago

Ethiopian Airlines will be increasing flights to Chicago as of summer 2019. This is pretty cool since the airline only started flying to Chicago as of June 2018, so I guess the route is performing well.

The airline will fly to Chicago 5x weekly rather than 3x weekly, and the route nonstop eastbound and via Dublin westbound (with no pick-up rights there).

Ethiopian Airlines canceling flights to Los Angeles

As of summer 2019, Ethiopian Airlines will be canceling flights to Los Angeles. Ethiopian Airlines has been flying to Los Angeles since 2015, operating a flight via Dublin in both directions, where they’ve had pick-up rights.

Just recently the airline switched up this route. Ethiopian Airlines’ flight to Addis Ababa operates via Lome, Togo as of December 17, 2018.

Unfortunately this route will be canceled altogether as of summer 2019, meaning LAX will no longer have a nonstop flight to Africa.

Ethiopian Airlines launching flights to Houston

In place of the Los Angeles flight, Ethiopian Airlines will be launching flights to Houston as of summer 2019. The route will operate 3x weekly via West Africa, though they haven’t yet clarified if it will operate via Lome, Abidjan, or somewhere else. This will be the only nonstop flight between Houston and Africa.

The exact schedule hasn’t yet been published, but the flight will be operated by a 787. Ethiopian Airlines had been considering flying to Houston for quite a while, so it’s  nice to see them follow through on this.

Bottom line

Ethiopian Airlines is the only major airline in Africa that’s actually doing well, and they’ve built up an incredible route network. It’s sad that they couldn’t make their Los Angeles flight work, especially in light of the recent changes they made to the route. However, I guess the Houston flight is a good alternative, at least.

What do you make of Ethiopian’s changes to their US route network?

  1. While this is unfortunate it demonstrates why Ethiopian has had as success. They function like a profit maximizing entity and don’t consider nationalistic pride in operating routes. Sure it’s nice to fly to LAX (or for other airlines JFK) but is it worth huge loses? Glad Eithiopian made the prudent but difficult decision.

  2. There is obviously a demand for LAX – Africa however the distances and options are such, that people are happy for a one stop service
    ET with traffic rights via Dublin was clearly attracting low yield traffic from Eire and probably only a handful of people to/ from Ethiopia

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Houston flight makes it’s technical stop in Lagos, Nigeria given decent demand in energy industry. Will be curious to see how it settles out.

  4. “Ethiopian Airlines is the only major airline in Africa that’s actually doing well, and they’ve built up an incredible route network.”

    Actually Royal Air Maroc is also going quite well

  5. This is very exciting for Houston!!! IAH will now be the once again the American airport with non-stop scheduled commercial service to all inhabited continents!

  6. LAX service was successful because of the Dublin traffic, not in spite of it. SoCal has a hug Irish expat population, including lots of undocumented Irish workers. Moving the tech stop to Togo killed that service.

  7. DUB also has US pre-clear, which is a bonus, but maybe that was not available for through passengers in the way that it is for BA1/2 at Shannon?

  8. ET is pretty great. The facilities at ADD could use some work but it’s Ethiopia not Singapore. The Doro Wot at the Cloud 9 lounge at ADD might be the most delicious lounge meal I’ve had anywhere. So freaking tasty!

  9. Looking forward to a new airline at IAH. This will reinstate Houston as one of the handful of cities in the world to have nonstop flights to 6 continents.

  10. @Stu – The brand new terminal at Addis Ababa opens tomorrow (27JAN19). I had a couple of flights through there this month during the soft opening and was quite impressed.

  11. Wonder if they would pick up the LOS-IAH route dropped by UA a while ago. I know Nigerian government has been luring ET for some sort of network expansion at LOS…

  12. @Tom
    Pre-clearance is only available in DUB at T2. Ethiopian Airlines transit through T1. Hence no pre-clearance.

  13. Ethiopian flights departed from T1 at Dublin while preclearance is in T2, so they didn’t take advantage of that.

  14. @Jim – The IAD flights that run via ABJ will run out of the morning bank of flights (viz. connections to/from the overnight bank), while the IAD flights via DUB will run from the evening bank as before (viz. connections from the daytime bank). ET is codesharing with HF to provide feed in ABJ and the mid-day departure ABJ-IAD will allow feed from their eastern routes.

  15. Awesome news for IAH. I know many Ethiopians in the city will also be thrilled. Changing the stop-over to LOS would be very wise.

  16. ET just cancelled my LAX-ADD flight for March/April. For December, they cancelled the same itinerary due to a change in routing and dates, meaning for two consecutive times, Ethiopian has failed to deliver on the booked itinerary. I’m done with them. Hello Turkish.

  17. I saw this coming. Last time I flew on ADD-LAX everyone in economy had three seats to themselves, good for passengers not sustainable for the airline.

  18. IAH is a United hub just like the other airports ET flying in the US. IAD, EWR, ORD and now IAH. as such they get domestic passengers flying to ADD and beyond from UA – a star alliance partner – while they bring all passenger coming from Africa to connect to UA flights!
    A win-win for both.

  19. Sean M,
    As of now all 7 weekly IAD-ADD flights are direct. No stopover anywhere. I don’t know where you saw ABJ as stopover.
    ADD- IAD always stop over at DUB due to altitude issue in Addis.
    Do those additional flights are coming thru ABJ?

  20. @Andy – If you read Lucky’s original post, it announces 3 weekly additional flights to IAD via ABJ.

  21. IAH seems like it’ll allow better collecting of connecting pax from LAX/SFO/SEA/etc, and many African-bound travelers are price sensitive so layovers aren’t as worrisome.

    Might be the closest since United killed off IAH-LOS, with an added stop before Nigeria or Angola.

  22. @slomichael – The last departure for LAX-LFW will be 13FEB19. If you are before that date, you will be fine.

  23. I’d say if they re opened 3x weekly 787-8 ADD-DUB-LAX it may work with the demand from DUB-ADD and from DUB-LAX combined with ADD-LAX traffic too, meaning the ADD-MAD-DUB flight can continue somewhere else after Madrid

  24. lucky do we know when Ethiopian Airlines will start service out of IAH. I know they stated Summer 2019 but I have not heard any specific start time . Jun, Jul or Aug. thank you for any info you may know and share.


  25. @ Miguel, service from IAH to ADD begins 23 June 2019 with 3 flights weekly via Lome in both directions.

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