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Towards the end of January, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would be changing up its services between Addis Ababa and North America with the airline ceasing operations to/from Los Angeles, offering new services to Houston and Toronto, and adding more service to Washington DC….but now things appear to be changing again (HT: Routes Online).
New Washington DC Service Cancelled
The new Ethiopian Airlines service between Addis Ababa and Washington D.C. was set to launch from 20 June 2019 and would have seen the airline increase its frequencies between the two cities from 7x to 10x/week….but not any longer.
In the latest schedule update the planned 3x/week Addis Ababa – Abidjan – Washington Dulles service has been canceled and doesn’t appear anywhere in the airline’s schedules.
The airline’s existing 7x/week service which routes through Dublin (on the outbound) appears to be unchanged.
Ethiopian Delays Houston Service Launch
Ethiopian was expected to be launching a new service between Addis Ababa and Houston (via Lome, Togo) from 23 June 2019 but, based on the latest changes made to the airline’s schedule, the service will not now be launched until 14 December 2019 (15 December for departures from Addis Ababa).
Here’s what the schedule looks like (from December 2019):
ET518 ADD 21:30 – 00:05+1 day LFW 01:15+1 day – 08:40+1 day IAH (Wed, Fri & Sun)
ET519 IAH 11:00 – 05:00+1 day LFW 06:00+1 day – 14:30+1 day ADD (Mon, Thu & Sat)
Interestingly, this may not be the end of the changes to this service as, although it appears in the schedules, bookings are not yet being taken and ExpertFlyer is showing no availability across all fare classes.
Ethiopian Delays Toronto Service Re-Start
17 June 2019 was supposed to be the date for Ethiopian to restart its 5x/week service between Addis Ababa and Toronto but, as of today, it looks like the airline has pushed back the restart date for this route to 28 October 2019.
Just as with its existing route between Addis Ababa and Washington the route to Toronto sees Ethiopian make a fuel stop in Dublin on the westbound flight while the return journey is made nonstop.
Here’s the currently published schedule:
ET502 ADD 23:00 – 04:30+1 day DUB 05:15+1 day – 08:45+1 day YYZ (Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun)
ET503 YYZ 11:00 – 05:00+1 day ADD (Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat & Sun)
Unlike Ethiopian’s delayed route to Houston, this route is currently on sale so, hopefully, there will be no further delays.
It’s not obvious why the new Washington service has been pulled or why the other services have been delayed (I haven’t seen any official comments from Ethiopian) so I can only speculate at this point.
It’s possible that Ethiopian is suffering similar issues with its 787 Dreamliners that other airlines (like Virgin Atlantic) have seen and so is short of aircraft to operate these routes right now.
It’s also possible that bookings on some (or all) of these routes were down on expectations and with revenues not looking promising the airline has chosen to cancel or delay their launch.
Whatever the reasons this isn’t good news for flyers and, if you’re booked to fly any of the services that are now canceled or delayed, I suggest getting in touch with the airline asap (if they haven’t already contacted you).