Ethiopian Airlines plans to expand flights to U.S.

Ethiopian Airlines LA

Washington D.C. – Ethiopian Airlines added a ninth Dreamliner to its fleet Tuesday and plans to expand its U.S. presence with service to Los Angeles by June 2015 “if everything goes as expected,” CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told USA TODAY on Wednesday.

The airline already has daily flights to Washington’s Dulles airport from Addis Ababa, with nonstops heading to Africa. But because of the capital’s 7,700-foot elevation, flights heading to Washington stop in Rome and would stop in Dublin for Los Angeles.

“It’s a very tough challenge for engines, for pilots,” Gebremariam said. “The 777ER is the longest-range airplane in the world, but even then it cannot make it from Addis to Washington. It is flying from Addis to Beijing.”

The airline has quadrupled in size during the last decade, with 68 planes flying to 18 domestic airports and 82 international destinations on five continents.

Gebremariam was Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where he called announcements of $33 billion in public and private U.S. investment in his continent “very encouraging.”

Read more at: USA Today

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