LAX to Africa?
Ethiopian Airlines could become the first African air carrier to connect the Mother Continent to the US West Coast.
This time next year, you may be able to fly to Africa from the West Coast of the United States — on an African airline.
Ethiopian Airlines has announced plans to begin flying out of Los Angeles (LAX) to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa (ADD).
The LAX-ADD flight would make a European stopover in Dublin, Ireland (DUB).
This is not just huge. It’s historic.
Currently, the FAA allows only six African airlines to fly to and from the United States. Ethiopian will be the first to touch down anywhere west of the Mississippi.
The airline already flies to ADD out of Washington Dulles (IAD).
It’s but one in a series of ambitious moves signaling the intent of Ethiopian to be recognized as a major player in the air travel industry.
(NOTE: Skytrax, the British airline rating Web site, gives the airline three stars out of a possible five, putting it on a level at least equal to that of most US-based airlines. The highest rated African airline flying to the US is South African Airways, with four stars.)
Ethiopian already is Africa’s largest airline.
For the last several years, it’s been expanding its route map to Europe and Asia, and gone to Boeing for jumbo jets with extended range, including its new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.
In 2017, another long-range specialist, the Airbus A350-900, will join Ethiopian’s fleet.
Its arrival at LAX will definitely raise its profile among international travelers, especially in the US, and could pave the way for the arrival of other African air carriers to the US.
But they aren’t stopping there.
The airline also is looking to open new routes to Madrid and Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
Clearly, these guys are serious about taking the Ethiopian Airlines brand — and by extension, Ethiopia’s national identity — to almost every corner of the world.
DID YOU KNOW?
When Boeing was catching hell for the teething pains of its new 787, from being three years late on its first deliveries to a series of problems with its lithium-ion batteries, Ethiopian Airlines stood strong behind both Boeing and the Dreamliner, even as other airlines delayed or cancelled their orders. That loyalty may have helped save the Dreamliner program.