Expect To See A Lot More Ethiopian Airlines In Dublin

Filed Under: Ethiopian, Other Airlines

You’re about to see a lot more of Ethiopian Airlines in Dublin!

Ethiopian will be launching flights to Los Angeles

In June 2015, Ethiopian Airlines will begin flying between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles… via Dublin. The route will be operated by a 787, and is especially interesting since Ethiopian will have pick-up rights in Dublin. So if you wanted to, you could fly Ethiopian exclusively between Los Angeles and Dublin.


The schedule on that flight is quite interesting as well, as they’re operating one of the earliest westbound transatlantic flights, and one of the latest eastbound transatlantic flights, as follows:

ET504 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 10:30PM arriving 5:00AM (+1 day)
ET504 Dublin to Los Angeles departing 6:15AM arriving 8:30AM

ET505 Los Angeles to Dublin departing 11:30PM arriving 6:30PM (+1 day)
ET505 Dublin to Addis Ababa departing 7:30PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)

Ethiopian will start refueling in Dublin

The above is old news, though. Here’s the new news, which I find especially interesting. Ethiopian presently serves two destinations in North America — Toronto and Washington. The eastbound flights to Addis Ababa are nonstop, while the westbound flights from Addis Ababa both have a fuel stop in Rome.

Ethiopian doesn’t actually have pick-up rights in Rome, but instead it’s just a refueling stop, with all passengers staying on the plane.


Why? Because Addis Ababa is at an extremely high altitude (~7,600 feet), so there’s no way to fly to the US nonstop from there.


As of May 10, 2015, Ethiopian will be changing their refueling point from Rome to Dublin, though. In other words, the westbound flights from Addis Ababa to Toronto and Washington will route via Dublin instead of Rome.


Ethiopian still won’t have pick-up rights, so this is just a technicality, really.

What’s interesting is how closely the schedules line up on all three flights:

ET500 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 10:30PM arriving 5:00AM (+1 day)
ET500 Dublin to Washington departing 6:15AM arriving 8:30AM

ET502 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 10:40PM arriving 5:10AM (+1 day)
ET502 Dublin to Toronto departing 6:25AM arriving 8:20AM

ET504 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 10:30PM arriving 5:00AM (+1 day)
ET504 Dublin to Los Angeles departing 6:15AM arriving 8:30AM

Some days you can expect to see three Ethiopian widebodies on the ground in Dublin in the wee hours of the morning.

Bottom line

From a passenger’s perspective this really doesn’t change anything, given that Ethiopian won’t be using the US pre-clearance facility in Dublin. This change still makes a lot of sense for them, though. Ultimately it’s much more efficient to service three aircraft than one in terms of staffing, hotel costs, etc., and I’d be willing to bet Dublin Airport gave them a good deal.

While Dublin is slightly more out of the way than Rome, the difference is negligible, and it’s slightly closer to being at the halfway point of the journey, which is more fuel efficient.

I’m curious to see how the fifth freedom flight between Dublin and Los Angeles performs. It would be really interesting if long term Ethiopian’s flights out of Washington and Toronto stopped in both directions and they had pick-up rights.

In the meantime, don’t be concerned that you landed on the wrong continent if you find yourself at Dublin Airport at 6AM and see three Ethiopian planes.

  1. Do you know for a fact that they don’t have DUB-JFK rights?

    It could just be that they’re not interested in offering service as they presume that there isn’t much of a market for a one-way service so they might as well skips costs associated with taking on pax and bags (one flight is enough to cover ADD-DUB traffic).

    No rights for DUB-YYZ I can understand given Canada’s anti-consumer approach to aviation rights.

    BTW DUB should be much less strike prone than FCO.

  2. I didn’t know the high altitude at ADD would play a factor in preventing IAD-ADD non-stop westbound flights. Why is that the case? Given the 787’s long range, I would think it can cover IAD-ADD nonstop both ways.

  3. According to Great Circle Mapper, the difference in distance is exactly 1 mile to LAX. http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=add-dub-lax,+add-fco-lax It’s even shorter through DUB :).

    IAD is 71 miles longer through DUB: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=add-dub-IAD,+add-fco-iad

    YYZ is 36 miles longer: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=add-dub-yyz,+add-fco-yyz

    At the end, I think you’re right they’re saving money by using a stop more in the middle of the flight. And, as John Tarik says, strikes might also be an extra incentive. Congestion as well, I think: FCO is busier than DUB.

  4. ” Because Addis Ababa is at an extremely high altitude (~7,600 feet), so there’s no way to fly to the US nonstop from there.”

    Must be something about aviation that I’m not familiar with, but why does the altitude of the departure airport affect the distance the plane can fly?

    If anything, there are fewer vertical feet to travel up to cruising altitude, no? 😉

  5. @Jon The air is thinner at 7600 ft and thus means it’s harder to gain lift. It results in planes needing to take off with less weight.

  6. I don’t think the hot and high status of the airport is the issue here. The way to compensate for the circumstances is a longer runway, so you can take off at higher speeds. And the runway is 5km, 15,000 ft. Seems enough compensation to me. However, flying west takes more time and more fuel. It might be that they reach their maximum too easily and therefore need a fuel stop (maybe just to be sure).

  7. Could cost of Fuel in AA be a factor?

    There were some crazy low fares on ET when I looked about 6 weeks ago. Not as cheap, but its still showing up £390/$580 return for August

  8. @JMR – You are partly correct. The problem is that when you take off at higher speeds, the temperature of your tyres rises due to the increased friction with the runway. The tyre speed to depart from Addis nonstop to North America exceeds the certified limits of the aircraft tyres, creating an increased risk of tyre burst and/or fire. Hence, the aircraft is payload limited (hence range limited) on Addis departures.

  9. Off-topic question : do they still not offer lie flat biz class seats in the DC to Addis route?

  10. Ethiopian are advertising quite heavily here in Dublin, albeit the ads are of poor quality. The message seems to be getting across as I know a few who have booked with them, their cheap fares certainly help that.

  11. From the Wikipedia article Ben posted above, this portion seems to be the answer as to why they have to make a fuel stop leaving from ADD to the US:

    “Some ways to increase aircraft performance in hot and high conditions include:
    Reduce aircraft weight. Weight can be reduced by carrying only enough fuel to reach the (lower-altitude) destination rather than filling the tanks completely.”

    So they probably can’t load enough fuel to safely take off from ADD, and still make it all the way to North America.

  12. @ Kenny — Not yet, but as of June the flight will be operated by a 777-300ER, and I believe those feature fully flat beds.

  13. @lucky @kenny The flat bed seats are presently installed only on ET-ASG and ET-ASH. The next aircraft to go in for reconfig will be the 777-200LRs (ET-ANN/O/P/Q/R and ET-AQL). The 777-300ERs are not yet planned for the flat beds but are widely expected to follow the -200LRs, and then the older 787s will start retrofit following that.

  14. @ Sean M. — Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that the 777-300ERs were delivered with flat beds. Guess not. Ouch!

  15. Thanks Sean and Lucky for the info. Looks like I need to stick with my plan for SAA biz class for my Africa trip in the Fall.

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