Africa’s largest carrier Ethiopian Airlines, has announced the addition of London’s second-largest airport – Gatwick – to its winter schedule.
The airline already flies to London Heathrow and Manchester, and the Gatwick service will provide more options for passengers looking to travel across Africa and beyond through Ethiopian’s extensive network.
Ethiopian Airlines will start flying to London Gatwick (LGW) from November 21st, with flights operating three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. It is scheduled as follows, with all times local:
Addis Ababa to Gatwick: ET718, 00:15-05:15 (8h block time)
Gatwick to Addis Ababa: ET719, 10:10-20:40 (7h 30m).
The carrier will deploy one of its Airbus A350 aircraft on the route, offering a two-class configuration – economy and business class. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mr Mesfin Tasew, commented,
“We have a 50-year relation with UK. We give high regards to our Heathrow services and now we are excited to add Gatwick to our vast global network. We are ready to stretch our reach to Gatwick and provide our renowned, award-winning services. History has it that we last served Gatwick in 2005 and 2006 using the Boeing 757. Now the route will be served by the most modern Airbus A350-900 aircraft.”
Complementing other UK services
With this route, Ethiopian becomes Gatwick’s second sub-Saharan African operator. It will join Air Mauritius, which will begin service on October 30th, replacing Heathrow. But Ethiopian will serve both London airports – along with Manchester.
The service will complement the airline’s daily non-stop A350 flights from T2 London Heathrow to Addis Ababa and 5 x weekly A350 service from T2 Manchester to Addis Ababa. Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development, London Gatwick, commented,
“We are delighted to welcome Ethiopian Airlines back to London Gatwick this winter. As the largest carrier in Africa, this is an excellent addition to our network and adds a valuable, direct connection to Eastern Africa.”
Ethiopian Airlines has connections to over 60 African destinations across East, South, Central, and West Africa and connections to the Far East & Asia. Its business model relies heavily on transferring passengers over its fast-growing Addis Ababa hub.
Simple Flying previously analyzed the booking data for the first half of 2023, which suggests that more than 68,000 roundtrip Heathrow passengers were connected. That was an average of 357 daily, more than a third lower than in 2019.
Ethiopian carried more passengers between Heathrow and Lagos than anywhere else. This is despite the considerable detour, adding nearly twice the distance versus a non-stop, with price clearly a key decision factor.
The carrier also faces fierce competition from other airlines in the region for its Lagos connection and is fourth on the list after Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, and RwandAir. Hopefully, Ehtiopian will attract more passengers through its additional Gatwick service this winter.