Ethiopian Airlines To Fly Nonstop Between Newark & Abidjan

Filed Under: Ethiopian

In the summer of 2016, Ethiopian Airlines launched flights between Newark and Addis Ababa. The route operates via Lome, Togo, which is because Addis Ababa is at a high altitude, so it’s not possible for them to operate the flight nonstop on the westbound sector. While they could presumably operate the flight nonstop on the eastbound sector, at that point they figure they might as well stop in Lome in both directions, so they can serve an additional market, given that they have pick-up rights.

This is Ethiopian Airlines’ only US flight that doesn’t stop in Dublin in at least one direction. While they have pick-up rights in Dublin on their Los Angeles to Addis Ababa flight, for the other routes Dublin is strictly a refueling stop.

Ethiopian Airlines has just announced an interesting new route that opens up yet another destination out of the US. As of May 10, 2018, Ethiopian Airlines will be operating 3x weekly flights from Newark to Addis Ababa via Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Ethiopian Airlines will have pick-up rights there, meaning that passengers can use this flight to travel exclusively between Newark and Abidjan, if they so wish.

The route will operate with the following schedule, using a Boeing 787-8, per @airlineroute:

ET512 Addis Ababa to Abidjan departing 8:30AM arriving 11:45AM
ET512 Abidjan to Newark departing 12:45PM arriving 7:15PM

ET513 Newark to Abidjan departing 9:15PM arriving 11:15AM (+1 day)
ET513 Abidjan to Addis Ababa departing 12:15PM arriving 9:30PM

The flight between Newark and Abidjan covers a distance of about 5,000 miles, and is blocked at 10hr eastbound and 10hr30min westbound.

Ethiopian Airlines 787 business class

For anyone looking to travel on this new route, award availability is excellent. I see multiple economy and business class award seats available between Newark and Abidjan just about every single day the flight operates.

In order to make this route possible, the existing Addis Ababa to Lome to Newark flight will be reduced from 5x weekly to 4x weekly. This means that Ethiopian Airlines will offer daily service between Newark and Addis Ababa, with 4x weekly flights via Lome, and 3x weekly flights via Abidjan.

On top of this new route, the airline is reportedly also in the final stages of deciding between adding flights to Chicago and Houston. Both cities are Star Alliance hubs, so I’m curious to see which one they select, and in particular, how they route those flights (will they also route through Dublin, or go through a different airport?).

  1. And for those who missed it on FlyerTalk last week, there actually were r/t fares at $318 … an incredible fare to anywhere in Africa from the New York area. However the $150 visa fee + mandatory proof of yellow fever immunization probably made some people reluctant to book, and now I see the fare is gone.

  2. That’s awesome!

    Despite Trump’s ignorance, the truth is that West Africa is on the rise. The situation is dramatically different in many countries than it was even 10 years ago, and certainly compared to 20 years ago. Life spans are increasing, child mortality is way down, commerce is thriving, and despite some still-restive areas, the region is largely at peace.

    Looking forward to this new route. Sure would be great if they would switch to visa on arrival, though.

  3. Flying to Lome in a few weeks because of a cheap fare – very excited to see West Africa. The visa information is very contradictory… However the embassy told me Togo no longer issues them on arrival. Not sure if this is true but not worth having to turn around after a long ET flight…

    Any advice for Togo/Ghana/Benin is appreciated (especially places to stay)!

  4. @Peter I was in Togo in December and they still issue visa on arrival. However you nee to pay with local currency CFA and there wasn’t an ATM before immigration. I flew business class so the VIP arrival lounge staff took me to the arrival hall to get cash from an ATM there and then brought me back to the immigration counter. Not sure how you would do it without someone there to facilitate this process.

  5. @Peter – Togo is very lax/flexible on visa requirements. I got a visa in advance the first time I went there, but subsequently I have always been able to blag my way in with a few Dollars/Euros. More likely to have issues boarding in Newark so just make sure you satisfy the Timatic requirements

  6. Appreciate the tips!

    I happen to live very close to the Togolese Mission in NYC so I just walked there to get it. However, do you guys have advice for negotiating a Benin visa at the (land) border over there?

  7. Merci for using the proper country name “Cote d’Ivoire” and not “Ivory Coast”.
    Few things give me the shudders than people still referring to Africa like a general country and outdated names like Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa (yes people still do this on mail!).

  8. ADD-IAH via Lagos could be interesting from an oil industry perspective but I doubt even an African airline has an easy time negotiating through Nigerian beauracracy.

  9. @askmrlee – Actually, living in Malawi we recommend that people use “Southern Africa” when addressing mail from the USA as we regularly get our mail routed to MALI instead and eventually delivered with months of delay and random Bamako postmarks.

    @Ed – Ethiopian is very well politically connected in Nigeria and the FGN is trying to convince them to take over Arik Air and relieve AMCON of the debt burden, so that kind of route could get approved with the right quid pro quo. ET already serves Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu and Kaduna – which makes them the largest foreign operator into Nigeria. However, due to delays repatriating hard currency from Nigeria as a result of recent cash shortages there, ET is no doubt reluctant to expand their earnings base within Nigeria and potentially trap even more cash there.

  10. @Sean M Do you live in Malawi? My friend was the former Ambassador of the Malawi Mission to the U.N. and last year became the Malawi Ambassador to Brazil.

  11. I recently flew on the Newark to Lome sector on Ethiopian. you can see the full review on my blog, but generally it was an easier connection if you are connecting to West African countries. The only thing is that Ethiopian was late leaving from Newark so it made the connection in Lome very tight – most passengers made the plane but the luggage did not so it created hassles.

    For Abidjan, the airport handles A380’s and other large airlines and the airport works well when everything is going smoothly; however, when something goes wrong they are not equipped to handle delays or issues

    For the visa for Abidjan, as a U.S. passport holder I went online to the link that was mentioned in a previous post, paid the $75 fee, and submitted my information. A day later I received an email that my visa had been approved. I took that printout to the the ‘Visa on Arrival’ office in the arrivals hall, where they did biometric scanning and fingerprints. They then printed out the visa and stamped it on to my passport. The entire process in the airport took about 15 minutes.

  12. @Sean M- very nice. For whom do you work? I can definitely connect you with some government higher- ups if interested. Connect with me on LinkedIn-Richard Toscano, New York.

  13. @Richard Toscano – Malawi is just my base. I commute from here to my office sites in Uganda and UAE. Will catch up with you on LinkedIn.

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