Ethiopian Airlines Launches Boeing 737-800 Flights To Amman

Ethiopian Airlines has added Amman as its next Middle East route, although it isn’t yet available for booking. It’ll be the first time the airport pair has been served in over a decade. It was last linked by defunct UK carrier bmi in June 2012, routing London Heathrow-Amman-Addis Ababa and back using A321s.

Amman follows Ethiopian’s announcement of Zürich, its next destination in Europe. And it comes as the Star Alliance member, the largest operator between Africa and Asia, plans to return to Chengdu from December 2nd, although none of the 4x weekly flights are currently bookable.


Ethiopian Airlines to Amman

Ethiopian Airlines has scheduled Addis Ababa to Amman, with flights expected to begin on September 19th. It isn’t the first time it has planned Jordan service. It scheduled flights to start in July 2019, although they didn’t. Then they were due to begin in August 2021, but they didn’t. Will it be the third time lucky for the 1,575-mile (2,535km) airport pair?

Ethiopia’s flag carrier expects a 3x weekly Amman service, the same as before. Flights to Jordan are due to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, while those to Ethiopia will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The schedule is as follows, with all times local.

  • Addis Ababa to Amman: ET428, 22: 30-01: 30 + 1; B737-800
  • Amman to Addis Ababa: ET429, 02: 45-06: 50

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The third-largest unserved market

Analyzing booking data for 2019 shows that Amman was Addis Ababa’s third-largest unserved market in the Middle East for point-to-point (P2P) demand, behind Abu Dhabi and Jazan in Saudi Arabia. Not that P2P traffic was significant. In the case of Amman, only around 7,000 people flew to / from Addis Ababa. Not even 10 people flew each way each day.

Notice Amman’s schedule, designed for one reason: to enable two-way connectivity to / from 50+ African cities over Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa hub. Given such little P2P demand, transit traffic will be vital. And the breadth of its African network means it’ll need few passengers per destination, such is the power of a hub.

A market of over 83,000

Excluding North Africa, the potential market opportunity is around 83,000 Amman-Africa passengers. Amman-Entebbe is the largest market, followed by Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra, Djibouti, Lagos, Cape Town, Niamey, and Abuja.

As you’d expect, most passengers to / from Africa flew with Egyptair, Emirates, or Qatar Airways, often requiring significant detours. In contrast, Ethiopian Airlines will generally offer shorter and quicker journeys.

Consider the biggest market, Amman-Entebbe, which seems to be driven by Ugandan migrant workers. In 2019, Emirates had over half of the market. But flying via Addis Ababa rather than Dubai will cut distance flown by 34% and journey times significantly. Will Ethiopian be able to capture a higher price for this? Possibly not, given the nature of demand.

Amman’s largest sub-Saharan markets reachable over Addis Ababa. Image: GCMap.

Its 11th Middle East route

Amman will be Ethiopian’s 11th Middle East route. It’ll join the following based on the period between September 19th and December 31st. It’s led by Dubai, served 3x daily, the Star Alliance carrier’s most-served non-African city. Notice how aircraft types / variants vary enormously for some routes, with widebodies helping with all-important freight, although particular equipment might only be used once or twice.

  1. Amman: 3x weekly; B737-800
  2. Bahrain: 3x weekly; B737-800
  3. Beirut: 2x daily; mainly the B737-800, but also the B787-8 and B787-9
  4. Dammam: 3x weekly; B737-800
  5. Doha: 3x weekly; mainly the A350-900, but also B737-800, B787-8, B787-9, B777-200LR
  6. Dubai: 3x daily; mainly by the A350-900, but also the B787-9, B777-300ER
  7. Jeddah: 1x daily; mainly by the B787-8, but also the A350-900, B777-200LR
  8. Kuwait: 6x weekly; B737-700
  9. Muscat: 5x weekly; B737-800
  10. Riyadh: 1x daily; mainly the B737-800, but also the B737 MAX 8
  11. Tel Aviv: up to 10x weekly; mainly the B737-800, but also the B787-8, B737 MAX 8, A350-900, B787-9, B777-200LR

Where would you like Ethiopian to serve next? Let us know in the comments.

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