After postponing its original plan to begin flights to Manila in July 2013, Ethiopian Airlines has once again set a target launch date for service to the Philippines. The Ethiopian flag carrier plans to begin service to Manila on June 27 with three weekly flights to its hub in Addis Ababa via Bangkok. It will be the only direct link between the Philippines and Africa.

Ethiopian Airlines will be operating its Manila service with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Flights will depart Addis Ababa at 12:40am with a brief one hour and ten minute stopover in Bangkok, eventually arriving in Manila at 7:00pm. The return flight will depart Manila at 10:00pm and arrive in Addis Ababa the following day at 6:30am after a similar stop over in Bangkok.

The Star Alliance carrier was originally planning to serve Manila with a Boeing 767 with flights routing through Hong Kong. Although flights are now currently routing through Bangkok, Ethiopian Airlines does not currently have local traffic rights to carry passengers between Bangkok and Manila.

Manila won’t be the only new destination in Asia for the carrier. Ethiopian is also planning to create the only direct link between Africa and Japan when it launches three weekly flights to Tokyo’s Narita Airport in April. The new flights will be operated in a code-share partnership with fellow Star Alliance carrier, All Nippon Airways.

Ethiopian Airlines was the third airline in the world to own and operate a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The carrier currently has ten 787 aircraft in the fleet, making it the largest Dreamliner operator in Africa.

According to Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, the 787 aircraft boast full flat seats in business class and the latest in-flight entertainment. “It is our core fleet and very popular among our customers. We have more load factor on the routes we operate Dreamliners,” said Tewolde.

Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to 84 destinations across five continents with 50 of those destinations in Africa. In addition to Manila and Tokyo, the carrier plans to launch service to Dublin and Los Angeles later this year. Ethiopian is often rated as one of the top carriers in the region and is presently ranked the largest and most profitable airline in Africa.

Source: Philippines Flight Network

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