Ethiopian Airlines makes Atlanta its 5th US destination, will fly to Addis Ababa

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, is adding its fifth U.S. destination: Atlanta.

The airline will offer flights from Atlanta to Addis Ababa — Ethiopia’s capital and the airline’s main hub. Service begins May 16, with Ethiopian offering flights four times a week between the cities.

Flights headed west from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) will stop in Dublin for 50 minutes to refuel. The high altitude of the Addis Ababa airport — combined with head winds typical on westbound flights across the Atlantic — limit the range of the aircraft in that direction, necessitating the technical stop.

However, eastbound flights from Atlanta to Addis Ababa operate nonstop. Ethiopian Airlines is the only carrier to fly nonstop from the world’s busiest airport to Ethiopia’s capital.

The new route also gives ATL a high-profile Star Alliance option in an airport dominated by Delta Air Lines and its fellow SkyTeam members.

Ethiopian Airlines already flies to New York, Newark, Chicago and Washington.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew said the new route would further strengthen ties between the U.S. and Africa.

“We have been connecting the U.S. and Africa for 25 years now and the new service will help boost the investment, tourism, diplomatic and socioeconomic bonds between the two regions,” Tasew said in a statement detailing the new route.

Already the largest airline in the continent by both revenue and fleet size, Ethiopian is also one of the fastest-growing airlines in Africa. It serves more than 145 domestic and international destinations from its hub in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian will operate its Atlanta flights on 315-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that include 30 lie-flat seats in business class arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Here is Ethiopian’s flight schedule between Addis Ababa and Atlanta:

  • Ethiopian Airlines Flight 518: Departs from ADD at 10 p.m. and arrives in Atlanta at 9 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. (The aircraft stops in Dublin for refueling, with a scheduled arrival at 4:20 a.m. and departure at 5:10 a.m.).
  • Ethiopian Airlines Flight 519: Departs from ATL at 10:35 a.m. and arrives in ADD at 7:50 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.