Ethiopian Airlines officially kicked off its Los Angeles flight via Dublin, Ireland on June 20. Flight ET504 was welcomed with live music and some traditional dancing at the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Dublin as well as at the LAX airport in Los Angeles.
With a move adding LA to its number of destinations, Ethiopian Airlines is working on expanding its reach. “Our new flights connecting Addis Ababa, Dublin, and Los Angeles will play a critical role in the expansion of trade, tourism, and investment between the fast-growing continent of Africa, and the United States and Ireland,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group.
Dublin has become the 14th European destination for Ethiopian while Los Angeles is the third destination in the Americas next to Washington DC and Toronto.
The airline stated that connecting the East African region to the West Coast city that spans over 9,100 miles is economically feasible due to the fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner it uses for this route.
“It offers unmatched on-board comfort, especially for such a very long haul route, with its unique features such as greatly reduced noise, higher cabin air humidity, biggest windows in the sky, and spacious cabin interior,” Tewolde said.
Ethiopian currently operates the largest 787 fleet in Africa, with 13 in-service and six more on order. The airline also has the largest total fleet in Africa with 74 aircrafts, plus 45 on order.
Samson Mengistu Deputy Executive Director for Administration and Finance at the Los Angeles World Airports said that Ethiopian become the only African airline operating in the west coast of the US. He said that this flight will enhance the trade and tourism between the two continents.
The inaugural flight ET504 left Addis Ababa with 208 passengers. After making the stop in Dublin, it continued on to Los Angeles.
Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Girma Birru, L.A. City Councilman Curren Price Jr., and CEO of Ireland Tourism Niall Gibbons were among the several dignitaries and officials who were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared in a video message to offer welcomes and congratulations.
Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025, aimed at making it the leading airline group in Africa with seven strategic business units: Ethiopian International Passenger Service, Ethiopian Regional Service, Ethiopian Cargo, Ethiopian MRO, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Ethiopian In-flight Catering Service, and Ethiopian Ground Service. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline receiving the SKYTRAX and Passenger Choice Awards in 2013 and has been registering an average growth of 25 percent per annum in the past seven years.